There are many different types of robots in the world—ones that strike fear into the heart of any man or woman with their uncanny unlikeness to us, those that can fly in formation and play the James Bond theme, others that can run like a cheetah or jump like a flea or walk down stairs. And now there’s one that can perch like a hawk, courtesy of the work of Aditya Paranjape, Joseph Kim, and Soon-Jo Chung at the Aerospace Robotics and Control Lab, University of Illinois.
If you can move beyond the use of Comic Sans in the opening titles, which seems to have irritated the YouTube commentators, the video goes on to explain how they developed a micro aerial vehicle (MAV) that can swoop and then perch just like you see in falconry.
The video explains it all in quite technical terms, but you can ignore those and just look at the pretty moving images. Mainly the footage of the robot gliding through the air and decelerating to come and perch on the human hand. Why would we need a robot like this, you may ask? Well, you’ve seen Blade Runner, right? That replicant owl? This is its genesis.