Take a look at this cool mini-quadcopter; it unfolds and takes off in a third of a second!
(Mini-quadcopter unfolds in less than a second)
Designed by robotics researchers Stefano Mintchev and Dario Floreano, the teensy drone can snap its 0.3mm rotor arms out in a flash before lifting off. It's actually the spinning rotors themselves that generate the momentum to swing out the spars. They stay locked in place thanks to a set of magnets in each joint. "Compared to traditional multi-joint foldable structures, origami allows us to embed complex folding patterns in a lightweight design," Mintchev said in the video above. "A desired folding behavior can be easily encoded in the crease pattern of the origami."
The drones clearly aren't build to carry heavy loads but could eventually be developed into stealthy surveillance platforms. Its inventors are reportedly currently working on a means of automatically retracting its arms which would allow you to, as Florentino states, "carry many of these robots in your backpack, and go and use them wherever you need."
I was reminded of the bee cam, a tiny flying camera drone, from Karen Traviss' 2004 novel City of Pearl:
He set the bee cam to focus on any movement and enjoyed the day around him. Who would have thought he would end up doing wildlife documentaries?
Eddie pocketed the bee cam and finished his apricot strip.