VIDEO: Bubble-like drone draws in objects

Posted at 8:39 AM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 14:41:23-04

Usually, drones are meant to be flown outside and kept a safe distance away from people. 

But a German automation and robotics company has other plans for one of their gadgets.

Festo’s bubble-like autonomous prototype bot called FreeMotionHandling can both fly and grip objects.

It's not a danger to humans in close proximity, according to a brochure on the company's website. In fact, the drone is meant to interact with humans.

The helium-filled ball can rotate in different directions as it's pushed by eight propellers on a carbon fiber ring.

The so-called gripper on the drone, Festo notes, is inspired by a chameleon's tongue and made out of an ultra thin material. The elastic gripper can pick up an item, or even multiple items for delivery using a wrapping technique and a rope winch. 

According to the company, the drone uses indoor GPS to get around and has onboard cameras and sensors for more streamlined navigation.

Festo released information and a video showing off the flying sphere ahead of Hannover Messe, an industrial technology trade fair held in Germany. 

Check out more about the concept drone here.

H/T Tech Times