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Tiny Drones Team ­p to Open Doors


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Drones cooperate to open a door.

Robotics researchers have demonstrated how tiny drones can tug objects 40 times their own mass by anchoring themselves to the ground or to walls.

Credit: Laboratory of Intelligent Systems/EPFL

Researchers at Stanford University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, have developed palm-sized drones that can forcefully tug objects 40 times their own mass by anchoring themselves to the ground or to walls.

The researchers based the drones on predatory wasps, which drag large prey back to their nests.

Each FlyCroTug drone has a specialized attachment at the end of a long cable that can be extended and then pulled back in through a winch. The drones can use this feature to attach one end of the cable to an object, fly away, land somewhere else, and anchor themselves before hauling the heavy object toward them.

Stanford’s Matt Estrada said the technology “could certainly be combined with some low-level autonomy for maneuvers such as holding a position or grappling a handle.”

From IEEE Spectrum
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