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Pufferfish-Inspired Robot Could Improve Drone Safety

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The Pufferbot expanded.

A team of engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder has designed a robot that can inflate like a balloon to scare you away.

Credit: Hooman Hedayati

Engineers at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU Boulder) have designed a pufferfish-inspired robot that could enhance the safety of flying drones.

PufferBot is a hovering quadcopter drone with an expanding plastic shield that basically forms an airbag, in order to prevent collisions.

The robot's airbag consists of plastic hoops fastened to its top, which can inflate from about 20 inches to 33 inches in diameter.

When the drone approaches a potentially dangerous situation, PufferBot expands the hoops over its four spinning rotors, to keep them from striking people or objects.

CU Boulder's Hooman Hedayati said the shield "can act as a temporary cage. It also communicates with users to tell them: 'Don't come close to me'."

From CU Boulder Today
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