Animal Dynamics, an Oxford-based start-up founded in 2015, is creating entirely new drone types based on biomechanics, or the mechanics of animals.
The company has created two animal-based drones, known as Skeeter and Stork.
As reported by the BBC, the former is based on a dragonfly, its prototype version measuring eight inches, though Animal Dynamics promises that the eventual finished product will be even smaller.
Skeeter has military funding as its four-wing design allows it to remain steady in moderate to high winds, giving it the edge over other spy drones.
The company also asserts that it will be affordable enough that the military will be able to risk losing a few in missions.
“Making devices with flapping wings is very, very hard,” commented Animal Dynamics founder Alex Caccia to the BBC. “Helicopters manoeuvre by changing the pitch of rotor blades to go forward and backward or to hover. For smaller objects hovering is a major challenge.
“A dragonfly is an awesome flyer. It’s just insane how beautiful they are, nothing is left to chance in that design. It has very sophisticated flight control.”
Meanwhile, Stork is a larger drone based on birds rather than insects.
Animal Dynamics claims the drone is near indestructible thanks to a tubular metal frame. It flies using a rear-facing propeller and a collapsible parasail.
The Stork is designed to distribute food or medical supplies, and can complete a near-vertical landing, adding an extra element of safety and precision.