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Festo's flying sphere makes the creepiest drone deliveries

Engadget Engadget 11/04/2016 Steve Dent
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Festo is known for drones modeled on animals, like the Seagull-inspired SmartBird and 3D-printed BionicANTs. We're not sure what animal the "FreeMotionHandling" sphere is supposed to be -- some kind of flying jellyfish, maybe? Regardless, it's one of company's most useful drones so far. Filled with helium, it can soar autonomously in any direction thanks to eight on-board propellers. Guided by indoor GPS and a pair of cameras, it can then grab an object using using the company's tongue-like FlexShapeGripper and absorb it into the body of the balloon.

From there, it seeks the intended recipient and gently delivers the object by oozing it back out. The process looks pretty bizarre, but the company sees it as useful for future workplaces, where "both man and machine can interact with each other easily and safely." It could, for instance, smoothly pass you a tool if you're working in a high up, difficult-to-access spot. It's unlikely to be commercialized any time soon, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the video (below).


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