Designed by British mechanical engineering graduate Ben Kardoosh, the exquisitely named “Mantis Drone Claw” is a more sophisticated version of the device used by those arcade grabber games. He came up with the idea after deciding drones would be more fun if they incorporated an additional interactive element beyond just flying the machine and videoing the surroundings.
The Claw, which works without an external power source, consists of five hinged metal talons and hangs on the end of a supplied Kevlar cord. The talons automatically spread open as they touch a surface, and come together again as the drone regains height. Aim it accurately and any small object beneath the talons can be grabbed and transported back to the drone operator – check out the video above to see it in action.
You might use it to salvage something you dropped in a hard-to-reach location, or perhaps as the basis of a fetch-and-return racing game with friends. Heck, you could even use it to deal with those discarded underpants that’ve been decaying on the floor for weeks.
Kardoosh recently unveiled his Mantis Drone Claw on Kickstarter and needs just £5,000 ($7,550) of funds to get it to market.
He’s planning on three designs – an ultra-light 20-gram version comprising high-strength aluminum alloy components strong enough to lift anything weighing up to a kilogram (so long as your drone can handle it).
The second design, weighing 70 grams, is a more robust unit made with steel that’s “flameproof, chemical proof, water proof and rust proof,” Kardoosh says, adding, “If for any reason you ever needed to use a drone to pick up a 2kg burning hot coal, covered in acid, in a toil of ocean spray, with this you could.”
The priciest model will be made to order and hand-crafted by Kardoosh himself. This one comes in a presentation cabinet, with the designer suggesting it’ll be “too pretty” to actually use.
A pledge of £25 ($38) will get you the basic model, £39 ($59) the sturdier design, and £133 ($200) the hand-crafted version. If the project proceeds smoothly, backers should receive their Mantis Drone Claw in April 2016.