You already seen how Boston Dynamic SpotMini can let itself out a closed door, now meet a pair of micro flying robots (read: drones) that does the same. You read that right. Now, even drones no bigger than the palm of your hand can heave the door open too. Created by Stanford University, EPFL and NCCR Robotics in Switzerland, these micro drones called FlyCroTug features advanced gripping technologies that allow them to anchor to a surface and haul objects that weigh as much as 40 times their weight. I kid you not. They can actually do that.
Of course, the intention behind this technology is not to hunt down humans (right, Stanford?); it is to meet a challenge of drones executing search and rescue, particularly when navigating inside collapsed building where they may be required to work together to remove debris. Though we never dismiss the possibility of more sinister uses. Just a thought there, so don’t mind me. FlyCroTug is so called because it is essentially a flying, micro, tugging robots. Think of it as tugboat that is used to pull and push large vessel to and out of the docks.
Gecko-inspired non-sticky adhesive or microspines, which is a series of fishhook-like metal spines, allows the tiny aircraft to latch on either smooth and rough surfaces, while powerful winches provide the muscles reel in the cargo. These flying tugging robots are, not surprisingly, inspired by nature – specifically, wasp. The researchers observed how wasps are able to fly rapidly to a piece of food, and if the food is too heavy to fly with, wasps will drag it along the ground.
In addition, the researchers studied the ratio of flight-related muscle to total mass that would determine if a wasp flies with the cargo or drags it. Now, this freaking cool and freaky at the same time. Have a look at these little guys in action in the video below.
Source: Mashable (YouTube).