Drones normally look like a fancy helicopter, but now they come in the shape of insects. The German robotics firm Festo has unveiled animal-like drones that mimic the ap- pearance and behavior of butterflies and ants. Festo is exploring how natural habits in the animal king- dom can be of benefit in creating robots.

"The aesthetically appealing bionic but- terflies show the extent to which the virtual and real worlds can grow together," says Heinrich Frontzek, Head of Corporate Communication and Future Concepts at Festo, on the eMotion Butterflies.

Engineers at Festo, in as- sociation with universities and development companies, have investigated and further developed technical concepts and industrial applications based on models from na- ture. Recently the company also introduced a pack of highly-organized robotic ants, called BionicANTs, and they also have a smartbird and one BionicKangaroo.