Resilient, Insect-Inspired Multicopter Squishes When it Crashes

Insect wings are composed of sections made of cuticle, a stiff material that takes the load bearing portion of the wing, connected with flexible joints made of the protein resilin that have evolved to be shock absorbent and compliant. These two factors together allow insect wings to be both strong and load bearing, and compliant and durable - and now EPFL researchers have developed a quadcopter that uses these properties. The drone is made of a central case and a thin fiberglass external frame with four arms held together by four magnetic joints. The collision-resistant drone was dropped over 50 times from a height of over six feet.