Rolf Mueller, the Raymond E. and Shirley B. Lynn Professor of Mechanical Engineering, appeared on the Robot Talk Podcast on January 12, 2024. In the interview, Mueller discussed the finer points of bat robotics and the observations he has made in his research that have been translated into technology.

"There is a group of bats that have this ability to really go and pursue their food in dense vegetation," Mueller said in the recording. "They have an amazing mobility, they're like little fighter pilots, only they're flying in dense vegetation and they can do that without using their eyes. It's like you take Maverick and you let him fly the fighter jet in a dense jungle, and then cover his eyes."

Mueller and his team have been working with partners at the University of Brunei for several years to study multiple species of bats, observing how they use echolocation and unique structures in their ears to fly deftly through obstacles. This research has resulted in multiple projects that dive deeper into the biology of bats and turn those discoveries into novel robotics.

The Robot Talk Podcast is hosted by Claire Asher, a science communicator with a PhD in Biology and co-author of the book Brave Green World. Asher has written for scientific publications including New Scientist, BBC Earth, Science, Nature, The Scientist and Mongabay. The podcast dives into the exciting world of robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous machines. In each episode, Asher chats with robotics scientists from around the world to find out how their cutting-edge research is influencing the future of every aspect of science, technology, and engineering, from the everyday to the extraordinary.