Researchers create "perching" robotic aircraft

Joshua Topolsky
J. Topolsky|11.23.07

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Researchers create "perching" robotic aircraft

Sure, your average helicopter can land in a whole mess of places, but what if you really need to squeeze that sucker onto a steep incline? Normally, you'd be out of luck if the slant were anything more than a measly 20-degrees, but some Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have managed something a bit more extreme. Eric Feron, an aerospace engineer, and colleague Selcuk Bayraktar have created a new breed of robot helicopter which can land, or "perch," at inclines up to 60-degrees. On a similar tip, MIT researcher Jonathan How has fashioned another unique unmanned aircraft which can take off and land from a "prop hang" position, wherein the plane stands on it's tail in midair. The hope is that these new technologies will help get aircraft into -- and back out of -- complicated spots with a new level of maneuverability. Also, the engineers probably just love blowing people's minds. Check the videos after the break to experience the gravity-defying moves yourself.




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