picture of a horsefly

Biology’s Mark Willis discussed the possibility of using live insect antennae to detect pending disasters

It’s a moth, it’s a drone, it’s ‘Smellicopter’

OPB: Mark Willis, a professor and chair of the Department of Biology, shared his thoughts on the possibility of using technology equipped with live insect antennae to smell pending disasters, an idea first floated by the U.S. Air Force Center of Excellence on Nature-Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas. “We’re not very good at making odor sensors that will interface with a flying machine,” Willis said. “If you think about it, flight is a kind of locomotion where everything is happening fast … If you can’t make quick adaptations, you’re gonna smack into something.”