This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed a new drone designed to look like a dragon.

The “Dual-Rotor embedded multilink Robots of multi-degree-of-freedom aerial transformation,” or DRAGON, is seemingly modeled after a single line flying dragon kite. Only in this case, it uses a series of modules with a pair of ducted fan thrusters on each to help it maneuver through the air in spectacular fashion.

By changing the fan thrusters’ direction, the DRAGON drone is capable of carrying out an astonishing range of transformative motions in the air; transitioning into different shapes depending on what it is required to do.

According to, the mobility means that the robot can move easily through complex environments, even passing through narrow spaces like a snake. Such abilities could prove very helpful for inspection or disaster rescue tasks in the future. The manipulation ability, meanwhile, means that the robot could function as a “flying human arm,” potentially being augmented with a gripper to carry out precision work with the flexibility of an actual arm.

The drone’s battery life only lets it stay airborne for up to three minutes at a time. It could also support up to 12 linked modules, giving it an enormous amount of agility and shape-shifting prowess.