FlyCroTug Drone

Photo credit: Stanford News / Kurt Hickman

Despite their minuscule size, these was-inspired FlyCroTug (Flying Micro Tugging Robots) drones, developed by researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland in collaboration with Stanford University, can pull up to 40-times their own weight. This is made possible using a system of winches, adhesives and microspines, enabling them to latch onto just about anything. Its grippers can be adjusted depending on the landing surface, and thanks to its modular design, you’ll also be able to quickly install additional accessories when required. Continue reading for another video and more information.

“When it’s time for the drones to lift, they can deploy the grippers and connect with the object. The grippers are a non-sticky adhesive that researchers designed by taking inspiration from the toes of geckos. Rather than just dropping a sticky pad or some hooks, the drone grippers create intermolecular forces between their adhesive pads and the surface of an object. When that won’t do, the microspines — a series of metal spikes resembling the point of a fishing hook — can be called in,” reports Engadget.