'Spider-like senses' could help autonomous machines see better: Researchers are building animal-inspired sensors into the shells of aircraft, cars


They might actually detect and avoid objects better, says Andres Arrieta, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, because they would process sensory information faster. Better sensing capabilities would make it possible for drones to navigate in dangerous environments and for cars to prevent accidents caused by human error. Current state-of-the-art sensor technology doesn't process data fast enough -- but nature does. And researchers wouldn't have to create a radioactive spider to give autonomous machines superhero sensing abilities. Instead, Purdue researchers have built sensors inspired by spiders, bats, birds and other animals, whose actual spidey senses are nerve endings linked to special neurons called mechanoreceptors.