Watch this Flying Spheroid Drone Explore a Glacial Ice Cave


Drones may be all over the news these days, and you may be tired of hearing people dro... nah, let's skip the obvious pun, because with all the new developments in drone tech, the only people tired of drones are the ones who aren't paying attention.

Drones are shooting movies. They're helping us live alongside sharks. And there's great promise to use drones in search-and-rescue missions. In fact, that's where the GimBall comes in. Created by the Swiss firm Flyability, this ultra-light flying drone's surrounded by a protective, polyhedron-shaped shell made of carbon rods connected by flexible joints that lets it bounce off or roll across obstacles it comes into contact with.

A rotating spheroidal shell of carbon rods protects the GimBall from collision.
A rotating spheroidal shell of carbon rods protects the GimBall from collision.
Flyability

The entire structure circles the drone thanks to a gyroscopic construction that allows for multiple axes of rotation, and in the case of a collision, rotates to keep the drone moving in the intended direction. While it's not completely crash-proof, the GimBall is touted as "collision-tolerant" by its creators.

We got our first in-depth look at the drone in a mid-2014 Journal of Field Robotics article. And now, to display the capabilities of the machine, Flyability sent its drone into a frosty crevasse outfitted with powerful lights and HD cameras transmitting a live feed. Exploring the Zermatt Glacier in the Swiss Alps, it demonstrated how it could be used to explore spaces too small — or simply too dangerous — for humans.

Want to learn more about the GimBall and its capabilities? Check out this presentation from the company below. Now if only they could find a way to attach a little barrel of brandy to the drone...