This tiny wasp-inspired drone can pull 40 times its own weight

This tiny robot may look unassuming, but even at a mere 100 grams— about as heavy as a bar of soap— the “FlyCroTug” can pull up to 40 times its own weight.. To create the mighty FlyCroTug — named for its flying, micro, tugging features — researchers took a cue from wasps. Typically, these insects use their stinger to subdue prey before transporting it back to their nest. If the prey is too heavy to fly with, some wasps plant their feet on the ground and pull their prey home. Similarly, when a payload is too heavy for flight — anything bigger than the robot itself — the FlyCroTug stays on terra firma, whereit uses adhesives and tiny metal hooks called microspines to stick to a surface, and a powerful tether to tug on an object. Researchers demonstrated the FlyCroTug’s capabilities by anchoring it atop a partially collapsed building and having it haul up a bulky set of sensors to inspect small openings in the rubble. FlyCroTugs can also work together to open doors one pulls the handle downwards while sticking to the door itself, and another pulls the door open while anchored to the ground. The FlyCroTug still has room for improvement – it’s 5 minute flight time limits the robots to only short-range operations and more difficult, multi-step tasks require more than one FlyCroTug. Still, FlyCroTug’s unprecedented strength gives it an advantage over other miniature drones which—due to their size—can typically only survey their environment instead of actually interacting with it. That could make this new class of robots useful in everything from planting sensors in hard-to-reach spots to removing debris in disaster zones.

12 thoughts on “This tiny wasp-inspired drone can pull 40 times its own weight

  • I’d prefer a dung beetle build. Protective shell, reverse power mode, and carbon powered. Runs forever like the dronez.

  • 5 min is longer than most SuperVillain break-ins. With 9 for 12 min and a clear preset plan these could be a great belt tool for the budding villain…Could they be made to unpack themselves from a small ball?

  • The clip of the 2 robots working together to open a door was sped up significantly from the original/actual footage. Makes it look like it was quick and easy, when in fact it was a pretty tedious task that took a couple of minutes to complete. Don't mislead people to generate views or likes.

  • what good is being able to open that door, unless they're doing it for a 3rd drone to enter? because, if I understand correctly, they must stay attached to the door & floor, to keep it open, so they can't just disengage, and enter themselves, they'll lose their grip, and the heavy door will shut


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