Tiny Drone Flies Like a Jellyfish


The latest tiny robot may not be sleek or stylish, but it’s certainly a departure from the usual flying robot design. (National Geographic News)

Use our resources to understand how nature can inspire engineers—a process called biomimicry.

Discussion Ideas

  • Jellies create vortex rings as they propel themselves through the water. Why can’t we see the vortex rings created by the drone, the way we can see them so beautifully in the video from Kakani Katija? What fluid does the drone move through?
    • We can only see the vortex rings in the video because researchers have injected the bell of the jelly with milk. The white milk shows up perfectly in the black-and-white footage of the swimming jelly.
    • The drone is “swimming” in air. We can’t see its vortex rings because air is basically colorless. Check out this page to see airy vortex rings made visible by smoke, steam, volcanic ash, or other particles in the air.

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