This crazy 'Dragon' drone can shape-shift in midair to squeeze through tight spaces

JSK Lab/University of TokyoThe Dragon drone.
  • Researchers in Japan have created a shape-shifting robotic drone.
  • Called Dragon, it can change shape in midair and squeeze through tight spaces.
  • The drone is made up of lots of small drones, or modules, which allow it to contort into different shapes.

Researchers in Japan have created a robotic drone that can change shape in midair and squeeze through tight spaces.

First spotted by electronics website EEE Spectrum, the drone was created by roboticists at the JSK Lab at the University of Tokyo, who named it Dragon.

Dragon stands for “Dual-rotor embedded multilink Robot with the Ability of multi-deGree-of-freedom aerial transformatiON.”

In short, this means Dragon is made up of lots of small drones, or modules, which allow it to contort into lots of different shapes while in flight.

A video of the drone shows it starting in a square shape, before unfurling into something that more closely resembles a snake or indeed, a dragon. You can watch it here:

The video also shows that Dragon can move to fit through small gaps. IEEE Spectrum said it is able to “autonomously decide” what shape it needs to pass through a hole.

Researcher Fan Shi told the publication that Dragon is a “breakthrough in hardware design which, in a beautiful way, connects a manipulation arm with a ducted fan-driven aerial robot.”

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.