Beetles are virtually crash resistant. Their wings fold up when they collide with objects and then quickly spring back into place. That helps the insects stay on course and fly straight, rather than spiral to the ground, while exerting little energy.
Researchers have now built a winged robot that mimics this capability. The “beetlebot” keeps flying, even after it crashes into poles, researchers report this month in Science. The energy-efficient robot could even navigate narrow environments, such as collapsed buildings, to aid rescue missions, the team says.
This video presents the research tests in super–slow-motion, capturing the aerodynamic design of beetle wings and flexibility of sturdy, flapping-wing flying contraptions.