Scientists at UC Berkeley developed an experimental drone called the Midair Reconfigurable Quadcopter. As the name implies, the drone can shape-shift in midair, a report from NewAtlas reveals.
The team, from UC Berkeley’s High Performance Robotics Laboratory (HiPeRLab), used passive unactuated hinges, meaning that no extra battery-sapping actuators or sensors are required. In other words, each of the hinges folds inwards when its rotor stops or goes in reverse, and outwards when the rotor is powered up.
The quadcopter is able to fold any two of its arms using this method and still maintain stable flight. That means the drone can shift into a number of different shapes. The researchers say that it could, for example, squeeze through a narrow opening, and its folded-down arms can also be used to grasp objects.