Engineers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Calgary have developed a drone that can expand and contract in response to potential dangers in its environment.

In a nod to the expanding and contracting capabilities of the pufferfish, the robotic done is called the PufferBot.

The PufferBot features a one degree of freedom actuator that enables the drone to change the size and stiffness of the structure that surrounds it. It is this expanding and contracting capability that prevents drone collisions and potentially alerts humans to dangers based on those movements.

Source: Hooman HedayatiSource: Hooman Hedayati

This capability could also enable drones to fly through crowded spaces while simultaneously protecting the drone and its corresponding propellers and internal electronics.

The research appears in the journal arXiv.

To see how the drone works, watch the video that appears courtesy of Hooman Hedayati, one of the researchers who conducted the study.

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