Why are bats are classified as mammals and not birds, considering they can fly?

The answer lies in the fact that they do not have feathers. They’re the only mammals to undertake spectacular flight by using their wings, which are made of thin, flexible membranes and many joints.

In fact, bats are more efficient fliers than birds.

When scientists started to recreate the mammal as a robot, they were stunned by the extraordinary and complex structure of the body of the bat.

Bats use more than 40 active and passive joints during movement, all which is practically impossible to reproduce in a robot, Soon-Jo Chung of Caltech told Popular Mechanics.

This is because, among others things, bats have shoulders that can mimic the movements of the elbow, the wrist, the five fingers and the thumb. Their wings are the equivalent of a webbed hand.

In the robot bat that they created, researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign whittled down the number of joints to nine. Bot Bat or B2, as it’s called, doesn’t need to be remote-controlled.

Courtesy: Science Robotics

According to this article in Wired, bot bats can do what quadcopters, a type of drone, cannot do – fly in tight spaces like collapsed buildings, which lack light and GPS. Provided the right sensors and autonomy, a bat bot can even search rubble for trapped humans, which a quadcopter cannot do.