Feature

Roboticists made a shape-shifting drone inspired by hawks

The shape-shifting concept is supposed to let it turn and dive more naturally, like the northern goshawk, its avian inspiration

Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is a bird-inspired drone.

Engineers in Switzerland have designed a drone with maneuverable wings that resembles a hawk, said Rob Verger at Popular Science. The most popular drones today are either fixed-wing — similar to miniature airplanes — or use rotating propellers that "can act like wings and provide lift."

But roboticists wanted to create a more "birdlike drone that's capable of cruising long distances at high speeds (like a fixed-wing plane) while remaining highly maneuverable."

The result is the carbon-fiber LisHawk. It has "wings that can extend outward or tuck inward," and a tail that can "fan out, and move up and down and side to side." While the robo-hawk still needs a propeller "sticking out of its beak," the shape-shifting concept is supposed to let it turn and dive more naturally, like the northern goshawk, its avian inspiration.

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

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