Researchers from the University of Washington have developed a 98 mg sensor system that can travel aboard an insect or small drone for deployment in hard-to-reach regions.

The sensor is secured to the insect or drone via magnetic pin and it is encased in a thin coil of wire. Once the remote operator issues a wireless Bluetooth command, it produces a current through the wire, thereby creating a magnetic field that dislodges the magnetic pin and releases the sensor. According to its developers, the sensor can fall from heights of more than 70 ft and at 11 miles per hour without incurring damage.

Once the sensor lands, it can then collect data about the environmental conditions — temperature and humidity, for instance — of hard-to-reach locations for almost three years. The University of Washington team believes that the technology could be used to conduct research on forests and farms, gathering data and mapping their conditions.

For more information on the system, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of the University of Washington.

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