The bio drones are designed to be safer and less bothersome to wildlife
Ever looked up in the sky and wondered if you were seeing a bird or a drone? Well, it could be a bird drone.
According to wect.com, researchers at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology are designing and developing drones using taxidermy birds for the purpose of wildlife surveillance.
Research leader Dr. Mostafa Hassanalian, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at New Mexico Tech, says the “bio-drones” are safer and less bothersome to wildlife than traditional drones.
The bird wings, preserved through taxidermy, make the drones more efficient as well.
Hassanalian shared videos showing the drones flying with real feathers, which help the mechanically flapped wings look and behave more naturally.
The drones truly look like birds in the video footage, especially when shown at a distance.
Hassanalian said, despite concerns, the New Mexico Tech team is developing the drones with wildlife monitoring in mind, not spying.
He wrote online that traditional drones are being used for wildlife monitoring, but they are noisy, which could scare the animals.
Hassanalian said no birds were harmed to create the drones, and that the birds were sourced from local taxidermy artists and the wider market.
“Our main goal for this is to develop a nature-friendly drone concept for wildlife monitoring,” Hassanalian said. “Traditional drones are often disruptive to ecosystems due to issues such as sound and unfamiliarity, so developing quieter, natural-looking alternatives could help wildlife monitoring and research.”
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