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Many technological innovations are inspired by Nature. Flying insects were the inspiration to the development of a miniaturized gyroscope, a special sensor used in navigation technologies. Gyroscopes sense rotational motions to provide directional guidance without relying on satellites, so they are immune to signal jamming and other cyber threats. This advantage makes them ideal for aircraft and submarines, according to ornl.gov.

A new nano-technology development was demonstrated by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL – the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 

The coin-sized design mimics halteres, the vibrating wing-like organs flying insects use to navigate.

“Our goal was to optimize cost and performance in the smallest design possible to expand the market for this technology,” said ORNL’s Nick Lavrik.

Integrating the devices into smaller defense and consumer electronics has been challenged by fundamental obstacles.

At micro sizes, gyroscopes’ electrical components can produce noise that interferes with their operation.

To maintain performance at microscale, the team developed an all-mechanical device with no on-chip electrical components, compared to previous implementations of Coriolis vibratory gyroscopes (CVG), claim the researchers in their article published in nature.com.