This Drone Has Claws, Lands on a Vertical Walls

Researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke designed the sweet device.

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Aug 4 2017, 2:40pm

There's perhaps nothing more terrifying to me than a spying drone peeking into my window.

I'm here to let you know that my nightmare has officially gotten worse. This drone doesn't just hover, it's capable of covertly perching itself on a vertical wall, just like a fly does.

Designed by Createk Design Lab at the Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, the Multimodal Autonomous Drone (S-MAD) can repeatedly land vertically and take off again. Lucky for me, it wasn't designed for spying.

Instead, the team at Sherbrooke imagines the S-MAD could one day be used for less creepy tasks, like aerial monitoring after an earthquake or assisting with building inspections.

The drone can land vertically because it's equipped with a "wall detection range sensor" that helps it know when to start moving upward in anticipation of a vertical surface. It also has microspine grippers which allow it to cling to a wall once it makes contact. The S-MAD can land on both rough and smooth surfaces, indoors and outdoors.

The drone was presented at the 2017 Living Machines conference at Stanford last month. The event explores future technologies that are based on biological systems found in the natural world. The S-MAD was designed to mimic the landing techniques used by small birds.