One of the main problems with consumer drones right now is that they’re not exactly resilient. If you crash one (which is really quite easy to do), it’s likely that parts will splinter off in all directions, putting passers-by, and probably yourself, in danger. Many of the more popular drones on the market can cost between $500 and $1,500, so any damage is likely going to be a costly endeavor for owners to repair.
But new research from the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) suggests this could soon be a problem of the past. A group of researchers were inspired by the properties of insect wings, which tend to comprise rigid sections connected to more flexible, shock-absorbing joints—a combination that makes the flying bugs both strong and pliant.