Swiss lab builds lightweight, tree-perching glider robot, swarms to follow

Last we heard from Mirko Kovac of the Switzerland-based EPFL Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, he was setting a robot high-jump record with his grasshopper-inspired bot. Now he's back with what might be an even more impressive robot -- a 4.6 gram glider that can fly headfirst into any surface, perch itself, and then detach on command. The idea there being that the gliders could be outfitted with sensors and deployed en masse in difficult to reach areas -- Kovac gives the example of a swarm equipped with heat-sensors that could attach themselves to trees and monitor for forest fires. What's more, he says that the same perching mechanism could also be applied to other robots -- possibly even a hybrid of the glider and his grasshopper bot that could hop and fly around before finding a spot to perch itself. Head on past the break to see Kovac explain it himself on video.