Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have created a bird-like claw that can be attached to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to enable it to pick up objects at high speed. Inspired by how an eagle uses its talons to grab prey, the team crafted a three-fingered claw using 3D printing and attached it to a 4-inch long motorized arm. The drone is able to use the system to pick up stationary objects flying at three meters (almost ten feet) per second.

In the future, the team wants its machine to be able to react automatically to environmental changes using an on-board camera. It hopes the camera will allow the drone to make in-flight adjustments when attempting a pickup. The researchers are also considering programming it to detect places where it can make a controlled landing and "perch" to cut down on noise and save energy.