As a supplement to the UAV plan outlined in the post below, Gizmodo has a post about this wild concept the Army has laid at the feet of select engineering schools, including the University of Michigan. Here's an excerpt:
The proposal is for the bat to be just six inches in length, weigh only four ounces and use just one watt of power, backed by a lithium-ion battery, which could be charged by not just solar energy, but wind energy and random vibrations as well. The bat's intended goal would be to run surveillance ops and relay data in realtime, including sights and sounds from minicams and mini-microphones, but also radiation and poison gas readings.
The UMich grant consists of $10 million over five years, creating the U-M Center for Objective Microelectronics and Biomimetic Advanced Technology (dubbed "COM-BAT"pun intended). The focus is to shrink down many electronics that while currently available would only be good if the US Army wanted, say, a 12-foot spy-bat. Not too stealthy.The Army . . . giving new meaning to shrinkage.
For energy recovery, UMich will work to develop "quantum dot solar cells," making current solar cells twice as nice. The bat's autonomous navi system will be 1,000 times smaller than current systems, and that much more energy efficient too. The comms system will be shrunk to one-tenth the current size, too.