Mirko Kovac's micro air vehicles (or MAVs) could literally be a fly on the wall thanks to his addition of a pair of barbed legs. These legs flip out and allow lightweight, autonomous aircraft to dig into any surface and hang there — even concrete. It could revolutionize the way MAVs behave.
Kovac, an engineering student at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, pictures the wall-grabbing MAVs as working best in swarms, but for good rather than evil. During a natural disaster or, worse, a man-made one, Kovac's agile 'bots would be able to perch themselves all over the rubble and destroyed walls, acting as a thousand pairs of eyes for the rescuers. Of course, a technology such as this would undoubtedly find surveillance and even military applications.
The spear-tipped arms do more than just allow the diminutive aircraft to stick to walls, too. The force of the arms deploying is actually enough to slow a MAV down, meaning that no further augmentations to the robot would be necessary. That's pretty key as a cost-saving measure, but it also helps keep an already small MAV from being too complicated and heavy.
See the system in action for yourself in the video below.