Week 7 LAB Projects 2017

Drones, Biodrones and Information

Participating Faculty: Philip Johns

Project Duration: Saturday, 30 September to Saturday, 7 October


  • Summary
  • Itinerary
  • Readings

Course Summary:

We are living in the age of drones. In this century, drones have gone from the realm of science fiction to an every-day reality. Yet some of the first drones existed very early in the 20th Century and entailed trained animals and cameras.

The aim of this Week 7 LAB is to explore the relationship between drones, living things, and the transfer of information. We ask: What is a drone? Is any remote-controlled vehicle a drone? And if not, what differentiates a drone from other RC vehicles? Are any domestic animals drones? Are all of them? We will discuss drones in nature, and then ask, what are the ethics of drones, and especially biodrones? Along the way we will build drones, including ornithopters and biodrones, as well as networked sensor devices. We will talk to people ranging from drone hobbyists to professionals who regularly use drones or animals to accomplish tasks.

The two main points of this Week 7 LAB are the interaction between drones and living entities, and the ethics of drones. The touchier topics, like Robo Roach, critter cams and wearable cameras, and the use and transfer of information, are central. Students will build a variety of objects, using the Fabrication Lab on campus.

Partner Organisations:

Wildlife Reserves of Singapore, Bird Park

Drone societies in Singapore, e.g.,

Possibly (APOPO hero rats)

Other Week 7 LABs