Drones can now perch on surfaces like birds. With the ability to land and observe the environment from a perch, energy is conserved, extending drone use. Mimicking millions of years of evolution had significant challenges. The robot’s legs are 3D printed, lightweight, and designed to convert impact energy into grasping force, grabbing a surface in just 20 milliseconds. Once landed on the perch, an accelerometer triggers a balancing algorithm for stabilization. “Part of the underlying motivation of this work was to create tools that we can use to study the natural world,” said William Roderick, Ph.D., researcher at Stanford University. “If we could have a robot that could act like a bird, that could unlock completely new ways of studying the environment.” A drone that can fly and perch at a given location has dramatically reduced the obstacle of battery life, giving more industries a chance to utilize drones, including search and rescue, wildfire monitoring, and biodiversity research.