Robots are usually built to avoid bumping into things. But this flying robot was designed to smack into obstacles and keep on going.
It's a Small Small World: Photos
The GimBall robot, created by roboticists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland, is a quadrotor encased in a spherical, flexible cage that protects its innards. Propellers give the machine lift and fins are used for steering.
Other robots are typically programmed to sense their surrounding in order to see or feel objects they need to avoid. But GimBall simply flies off into the unknown. In fact, the researchers tested the robot in a forest in Switzerland, telling the bot to go from point A to point B. Whenever it hit a tree - which was often - it just got up and started again.
The robot used gyroscopes to track its position and orientation and when it collided with an obstacle, it simply regained its balance, revved up its propellers, checked its direction with the gyroscopes and a simple compass and got back on its way.