University of Zurich develop the future of rescue missions

shape shifting drones for rescue missions

Technological advancements in software, as well as hardware, have helped in many instances where it would be impossible to physically access. Designed and developed by researchers from the University of Zurich, here are new shape-lifting drones that can squeeze into tight spots that can play a vital role in rescue missions.

The drone has four arms that can retract while flying to fit into gaps and holes. “The goal is to send drones where humans can’t go and make it easier to locate victims in a collapsed building in the event of an earthquake or fire,” the researchers said. Although there are plenty of other IT services that can change their shape, they’re still large and odd to fit into tiny crevices. The new drones are promising to fill in the gaps.


Inspired by the movement and flight of birds, the researchers built their drones based on this. The drones take an ‘H’ formation when they face an entrance too narrow, where the drone’s arms are lined up along one axis. It can also form an ‘O’ shape if the entrance is a tight circular shape, where its arms are folded close to the body. If it needs to position a camera or two, it can change into a ‘T’ shape and fly close to an obstacle to get the operator a good inspection. Apart from these alphabets, the drones can also form various other asymmetrical shapes.