Micro Air Vehicle On Display

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Part of the future of aviation might fit in the palm of your hand or on the head of a pin. Scientists are furiously working on Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), tiny aircraft that can fly autonomously where human pilots can't (or shouldn't). Now scientists at Cranfield University in Britain have put the machine they are developing on display at the Thinktank Museum in Birmingham. The Cranfield MAV will mimic insect flight with wings that both oscillate and rotate, allowing it to hover and maneuver. The computer brain on board will allow it to navigate itself. The museum exhibit allows people to fly a computer-generated image of the machine around a virtual smoke-filled building in search of trapped people. "Micro Air Vehicles have been developed for the defense industry to provide surveillance on the battlefield, " said Prof. Clifford Friend. "But they could have many other uses." He said camera-equipped MAVs could help out in emergencies and may even be employed by the movie industry.