Flying spiders – I’m sure that title made you imagine all sorts of unpleasant things, but the article is about a brilliant new invention in the UAV industry. A team of architects and roboticists at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich have developed an immensely useful tool for architectural constructions – drones capable of weaving web-like structures between supporting rods!
It has been developed by F. Augugliaro, A. Mirjan, F. Gramazio, M. Kohler, and R. D’Andrea of the ETH institute as a part of the institute’s aerial construction research, which also includes a project where drones constructed a brick tower using mechanical grippers to place the bricks, more information here. The weaving drones project is amazing in the elegance of its execution – the accuracy of the drone’s movement is astonishing, which is best illustrated by the official video :
The UAV’s use spools of plastic wire which can be attached to a support by wrapping it around it several times and then the UAV moves to the next support and can continue to weave between the two. But as you can see in the video, the drones aren’t only capable of waving between two static structures, but cooperate with a second drone and make knots between their two wires, making repeated patterns in the process!
If this project gets to see real world application, which I’m sure it will, we will be able to construct more complex structures without the danger of people risking their lives doing the tasks.