Although commercial drones are being used for everything from delivering packages to spraying crops, consumer models still can't do much more than shoot aerial video. That's why British mechanical engineering graduate Ben Kardoosh created the Mantis Drone Claw. It allows quadcopters to pick items up off the ground, and doesn't require a power source.
The Mantis hangs below the drone on an included Kevlar cord, and consists of five hinged metal "talons." When lowered down onto an object, the force of gravity causes those talons to open up around it. When it's pulled back up, they subsequently close with the object in their grasp.
That's pretty much all there is to it. No batteries or electrical wiring are required.
Kardoosh plans on offering three versions of the Mantis: a sub-20-gram (0.7-oz) standard model made of aluminum alloy with polymer joints, a 70-gram (2.5-oz) heavy-duty version made of stainless steel with brass joints, and a deluxe sterling silver-plated edition.
He's currently raising production funds for the device, on Kickstarter. A pledge of £25 (about US$38) will get you a standard model, when and if they're ready to go. It can be seen in object-lifting action, in the video below.