Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagMelanie Anderson

closeup-of-hummingbird-hawk-moth-butterfly-macroglossum-stellatarum-feeding-of-red-valerian-flowers-centranthus-ruber-in-flight-its-a-species-of-hawk-moth-found-across-temperate-regions-of-eurasi-stockpack-adobe-stock
Closeup of Hummingbird Hawk-moth butterfly (Macroglossum stellatarum) feeding of red valerian flowers (Centranthus ruber) in flight. Its a species of hawk moth found across temperate regions of Eurasi

Machine Uses Live Hawk Moth Antenna for Smell Detection

Human-created sensors are not sensitive, fast, or discerning enough to identify and process smells in the danger zones for which the Smellicopter was designed

We’ve often written about electronic prostheses that link up with the human nervous system — which essentially means controlling the prosthesis by thoughts alone. A reversal is also possible, as the University of Washington demonstrated in 2020: A machine (the “Smellicopter”) used an insect’s antenna to identify and seek out smells: “Nature really blows our human-made odor sensors out of the water,” said lead author Melanie Anderson, a UW doctoral student in mechanical engineering. “By using an actual moth antenna with Smellicopter, we’re able to get the best of both worlds: the sensitivity of a biological organism on a robotic platform where we can control its motion.” Sarah McQuate, “The Smellicopter is an obstacle-avoiding drone that uses a live moth…