Say you're out repairing the Dingo fence in Australia's outback when, blimey, you realize you forgot your box of Gripples back at the outpost. Rather than waste time back-tracking, why not just have your flying boomerang-sized robot retrieve them for you?

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A robotics team at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is working on a similar scenario. They're developing small, eco-friendly flying robots that could be used as farmhands and/or sidekicks to help workers cover ground quickly or reach to those hard-to-reach places.

Multiple cameras enable the small, propeller-powered robots to navigate in and out of buildings, making them ideal for deliveries and inspections. They're even small enough to stash away in your Samsonite.

"You'll be able to put your suitcase on the ground, open it up and send the flying robot off to do its job," said Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering professor, Peter Corke in a QUT news release.

Corke added, "These robots could fly around and deliver objects to people inside buildings and inspect things that are too high or difficult for a human to reach easily. Instead of having to lower someone down on a rope to a window on the seventh floor, or raise them up on a cherrypicker, you could send up the flying robot instead."

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The QUT research team says they are using cost-effective technology to keep the robots affordable. Within the year, they'd like to attach arms to the robot so it will be able to make repairs.

[Via The Engineer]

Image: QUT