Via The Verge
Of all of the weird and wonderful ways nature creates resilient bodies, perhaps the most underappreciated is simply being so squidgy your problems just bounce off you. Well, a group of biomimicry researchers from Swiss university EPFL are taking note, and have created a soft, crash-proof drone modeled after the flexible bodies of insects.
According to IEEE Spectrum, the scientists were inspired by a unique joint found in wasp wings. These joints allow the creatures’ wings to stay stiff during flight, but “reversibly crumple” in the case of a crash — saving the thin membranes from tearing. The EPFL researchers didn’t copy this system exactly for their quadcopters, but paired a flexible external frame with a magnetic coupling system that joins the frame to the central body. In the event of a crash the body pops out of the frame before clicking back into place.
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