“DRAGON does not have to contact with the ground, so the motion freedom is higher than other multi-linked robots from two aspects: Mobility and manipulation ability,” Moju Zhao, an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo, told Digital Trends.
The mobility means that the robot can move easily through complex environments, even passing through narrow spaces like a snake. Such abilities could prove very helpful for inspection or disaster rescue tasks in the future. The manipulation ability, meanwhile, means that the robot could function as what Zhao describes as a “flying human arm,” potentially being augmented with a gripper to carry out precision work with the flexibility of an actual arm.
At present, the drone’s battery life only lets it stay airborne for up to three minutes at a time, although this could be improved in the future. It could also support up to 12 linked modules, giving it an enormous amount of agility and shape-shifting prowess.
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