The University of Michigan's COM-BAT most definitely isn't the first mechanical animal to get its inspirations from the bat, but it's probably the best equipped to play a vital role in modern day warfare. A select group of Wolverines have been blessed with a $10 million grant from the US Army in order to concoct a "six-inch robotic spy plane modeled after a bat [that] would gather data from sights, sounds and smells in urban combat zones and transmit information back to a soldier in real time." Purportedly, the critter will eventually boast a bevy of sensors, miniature microphones and detectors for picking up nuclear radiation and poisonous gases. Even more interesting, creators are hoping to implement "energy scavenging," which would enable the bat to stay charged from wind / solar energy along with vibrations and "other sources." So much for being nocturnal, eh?

[Via UberGizmo]