A team of scientists and researchers at New Mexico Tech in the US has taken an unconventional approach to wildlife monitoring using dead birds. Dr Mostafa Hassanalian, Mechanical Engineering Professor is leading a group of researchers, they are using taxidermy birds to create Advanced Hi Tech Drones.
The team has used the birds’ bodies and wings as a basis for their designs, analyzing their weight and flapping frequency in order to create an efficient model.
According to Dr Mostafa Hassanalian, a mechanical engineering professor leading a wildlife monitoring project at New Mexico Tech, early aviators took inspiration from nature to build the first planes. However, those designs didn’t match the high efficiency of actual birds.
That’s why Hassanalian and his team have turned to re-engineered and dead birds to create drones. By analyzing the weight, flapping frequency, and angle of live birds, they have been able to reverse engineer a drone with all the necessary components. All that’s needed is to install an attrition mechanism to bring the birds back to mechanical life.
However, the use of drones has raised concerns about privacy. Concerns have been raised by privacy advocates about the potential use of drones for military or law enforcement surveillance.
Hassanalian acknowledges these concerns, noting that the focus of the project is on civil applications such as wildlife monitoring.
The project will continue for the next two years, with the next step being to extend the flying time of the taxidermy bird drone prototype beyond its current 10-20 minute range.