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Imagine a tiny drone that can quietly fly up to a building, land on the wall and then stay put for days, feeding video or audio back to its operators. A recently released video of just such a perching drone demonstrates that this futuristic surveillance scenario may not be that far away.
The micro unmanned aerial vehicle, created by engineers from Stanford's biomimetics lab, works by using "feet" equipped with tiny spines that can grab onto rough surfaces, such as brick or concrete. In fact, a perching spy drone is exactly what the Stanford engineers had in mind when they first envisioned this concept.
The primary advantage of perching is to conserve power, as micro unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) usually run on electricity. Instead of constantly flying, a drone that could perch and conserve power would be able to complete longer missions. Theoretically, the drone could then stay put for hours, or even days, waiting out bad weather or simply standing by for a mission.