I used to imagine a lot of the bio-inspired ideas, such as flying maple seed pods (above) and artificial jellyfish arose on Thursday or Friday afternoons around happy hour time by brain-fried engineers. You know: It’s easy to imagine sensor, battery, propulsion and aeronautics wonks knocking down a few IPAs and hatching a new scheme to bemuse a project manager.
In this case, it turns out the wild idea didn’t come from engineers letting their hair down, but from ambitious bio-inspired engineering students under the guidance of some encouraging University of Maryland professors impressed with the structural and sensory architecture found in nature.
The above video was shot last week at the AUVSI show where Lockheed Martin got to show off their latest iteration of the UM student’s work original work (see video below).
While both the UM and Lockheed Martin versions show prop propulsion, Gizmag also has a schematic of what appears to be a version powered by a tiny thruster jet.