researchers from the university of tokyo have developed a new drone designed to look like a dragon. standing for ‘dual-rotor embedded multilink robots of multi-degree-of-freedom aerial transformation,’ DRAGON uses a series of linked modules, each of which consists of a pair of ducted fan thrusters that can be actuated in roll and pitch to vector thrust in just about any direction you need.


video by IEEE spectrum

image courtesy of university of tokyo



DRAGON is able to autonomously decide how to transform when given the constraints of the space it needs to pass through. researchers conceptualize this robot as a sort of overactuated flying arm that can both form new shapes and use those shapes to interact with the world around it by manipulating objects. eventually, DRAGON will wiggle through the air with as many as 12 interlinked modules, and it’ll use its two ends to pick up objects like a two-fingered gripper.