Robots are literally taking the world by storm, earlier Boston Dynamics revealed its SpotMini robot. The SpotMini is capable of opening doors using a manipulator’s arm. The name sounds itty bitty but the four-legged bot is able to get into tight spaces or move through crumbling ruins caused by an earthquake. Comparatively a micro-drone might also be better suited for similar tasks. Stanford University researchers have successfully modified tiny flying robots so that they can squat down and move objects 40 times their weight.
The micro-drone called the FlyCroTug named by the researchers at Stanford University is able to fly, crouch and tug. As the micro-drone is small it can through small spaces and get close to people which can be vital in search and rescue situations.
The FlyCroTug is able to temporarily hold on to a surface with the help of gecko-inspired adhesives for smooth surfaces or 32 hook-like microspines inspired by insects for rough surfaces.
Mark Cutkosky said – “Wasps can fly rapidly to a piece of food, and then if the thing’s too heavy to take off with, they drag it along the ground. So this was sort of the beginning inspiration for the approach we took.”
The micro-drone can be fitted with a small winch. It can be able to full up to 40 times its weight out of the way, lower a camera to carry out survey operations in the areas affected or through open doors.
The researcher also managed to fly two FlyCroTug in a scenario where it might be daunting for a single micro-drone to try and keep the handle down to open the door and tug it open. The two drones were able to work as a team as you can see in the video above.