, or MAVs as they're called in the elusive underground, are far from new, but a team from NC State
University is hoping to advance the field with an all new critter. The Robo-Bat is a remote controlled creature that relies on a super elastic shape-memory metal alloy for the joints, which is said to provide a full range of motion while enabling it to "always return to its original position -- a function performed by many tiny bones, cartilage and tendons in real bats." The crew is also utilizing other "smart materials" in the muscular system, giving it the ability to react in real time to environmental changes such as sudden wind gusts. Ideally, this bionic chiropteran would be used to chivvy those who dare step foot on Franklin Street or inside Cameron Indoor Stadium, but in less malicious situations, it could help well-meaning scientists get the bottom of that whole "aerodynamics" thing.