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Swiss Researchers Invent Origami Drone

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Swiss robotics researchers Stefano Mintchev and Dario Floreano have invented a quadcopter drone inspired  by the Japanese paper folding technique known as origami. The robot deploys its arms in an unprecedented 1/12th of a second. Weight was a primary consideration for the researchers and the props had to be a certain size to lift the payload in addition to the mass of the drone. Normally, this is problematic because the overall area of the robot grows rapidly when it is designed to fly larger loads.

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To meet this challenge, the researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology discovered that it is possible to make a folding drone that can be deployed in a fraction of second. The arms snap out automatically but must still be retracted by hand.

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The researchers developed a unique way to extend the four arms: the lightweight limbs shoot out by using the force of the spinning propellers.

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For now, their drone is too small to do deliveries for Amazon or really carry any weight at all, but its size and ability to be concealed makes it a fantastic candidate for surveillance. Good or bad, this is a step into the future of drone technology.

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