Gadgets for humans

Watching this balloon-like drone pick up and deliver objects is oddly satisfying

Festo, a robotics firm engaged in building robots modeled on animals, has a curious new creation to show off.

Its adorably-named FreeMotionHandling drone is a helium-filled balloon that can move through the air in any direction using eight on-board propellers. It has indoor GPS and dual cameras to help it navigate autonomously.

What’s really cool about the drone is that it can pick up objects with its FlexShapeGripper tool. It mimics a chameleon’s tongue to grip and absorb items into its hollow body to safely transport them to a nearby destination.

It can also hand over the item by gently pushing it out of its cavity.

Festo hasn’t announced plans to commercialize the FreeMotionHandling bot yet, but the technologies used to create it might one day find use in applications like delivering tools to people working at great heights on construction sites.

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Published April 12, 2016 — 09:25 UTC

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