From our beginnings, research in intelligent systems has been central to our success. ARS' founder developed some of the first intelligent materials and a new class of functional structures recognized as the one of the first successful biomimetic intelligent systems. ARS' Artificial Neural Membrane (ANM) Technology is a product of twenty years of research encompassing a multi-disciplinary approach culminating in foundational technologies for biomimetic membrane vehicles. The development of ANM technology has revolutionized the approach to intelligent functional structures as it provides an open architecture environment for micro-and nanoscale devices.
Developing revolutionary technologies: The Neural Technology Frontier
Since the early years of biocybernetics, the search for artificial neural technology has led to advances in information technology, AI and even medicine. Now developments at ARS are creating new opportunities in not just programmable materials, but adaptive intelligent networks. ANM devices are finding their way into diverse areas of research including particle physics, electronic propulsion and power generation and storage. ARS has licensed an ever growing group of developmental applications. In-house ANM technology is a basis for a new micro-satellite network integrating interferometry systems and changing the paradigm in remote sensing and communications for commercial space operations.
ARS' Artificial Neural Membrane (ANM) Technology is redefining smart structures, enabling the first self-organizing, programmable smart skin system. The ANM's intelligent "brane" offers an environment for the integration of micro- and nano-scale devices. ANM Technology has been described as important as semiconductors in the 1950's. Recognized by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) as a new class of functional structures, with US and foreign patents and patents pending, it creates the first Internet of Everything Small (IoES)™ enabling networking of nano-scale and micro-scale devices in an adaptive, open architecture environment.
New class of functional structures demonstrates neural control
of membrane structures: a breakthrough in resident computing and controls
ARS's new class of functional structures proves neural control of membrane structures. This new development creates programmable materials and structures for space, medicine and energy. The neuro-adaptive environment pioneered by Dr. Menges and the ANM’s open architecture provides numerous possibilities to exploit micro- and nanoscale devices.
ANM Technology has initiated a number of new innovative applications of the first self-organizing functional structures. The best known application was funded by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC). The NIAC funded study investigated mechanical geometries of devices for membrane control and visualization of mechanisms for an ANM flapping wing vehicle. The new approach proposed the first comprehensive system for supporting biomimetic flapping wing structures integrating sensors, mechanical functional components, power and computing. Ultimately, the materials based devices chosen since have proven the multifunctional nature of the ANM Technology through resident processing and sensory systems.
ARS' new approach to functional structures has created new approaches to flight controls where aerodynamic forces are sensed by resident sensor networks in the membrane substrate which can respond to navigation and control requirements by inducing flexing and inducing mimetic control surfaces. The first membrane vehicle technology to create direct structural response enabling real-time flight structures and stable flight based on neuromorphic systems.
Areas of current and future applications:
- Deployable sensory networks - Membrane aircraft and spacecraft - Actuator and control devices - Space and diving suits - Artificial organs
and biosensors - Flexible optical arrays
Above: ARS Membrane Flapping WIng Nitinol Actuator Test (NIAC Study 2005). ARS perfected several methods of materials integration in membrane structures to demonstrate control of aerodynamic surfaces.
ANM Flight Technology: Intelligent Swarms
ARS' Micro Membrane Aerial Vehicles (MMAV) provide new opportunities in mobile wireless communications and sensor networks. From hurricanes to chemical emissions tracking, M-MAVs could revolutionize real-time data for disaster response, aerospace operations and environmental surveillance. Further the ability to deploy the M-MAVs in the dozens to hundreds, supports coverage of large geographic and atmospheric regions. Built in redundancies and mobile delay-tolerant (DTN) and mesh networks create a unique environment for a variety of mission requirements including ISR, flight operations, battle management and autonomous FAC operations for drones.
Above: Proposed ANM Membrane Martian MAV Swarm supporting environmental and remote sensing monitoring, over the horizon visibility and data mesh network, DTN capability and communications.
Above: ANM supported sensors developed by ARS for health-monitoring of aircraft, spacecraft, propulsion systems and control board level operations. Also incorporate environmental surveillance for astronauts and life support systems. The future in integrating real-time positioning systems is exciting and supports new cyber security protocols. The ANM support DTN services and wireless (Zigbee, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) networks.
Above: ARS ANM Martian Membrane MAV Smart Skin surfaces which provides new approach to health-monitoring, sensing, thermal management, autonomous systems and flight controls.