Move over, Tony Stark! This Iron Man-style robot can help during natural disasters. It will wade through rubble to retrieve its propulsion backpack and fly over challenging terrain using it as a pilot.

  • iCub has been developed by engineers at a research institute in  in Genoa, Italy
  • It could be deployed in search and rescue operations following natural disasters
  • Its height (3.4 feet) will allow it to reach places humans or drones cannot get to

Iron Man-style, this robot can help during natural disasters. The robotic arm is capable of wading through rubble while its propulsion backpack allows it to fly across difficult terrain. 

The robot, called iCub, has been developed by experts at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Genoa, Italy. 

Robotic systems in iCub’s palms will allow it to control power and direction as it zooms through the air using propulsion rockets. 

iCub’s modest size – just 3.4 feet – and propulsion abilities will allow it to reach spots humans or drones cannot get to in search of human survivors. 

The reminiscent of the Iron Man armour worn by Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, played on the big screen by Robert Downey Jr.  

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The team of scientists at a research facility in Italy has developed a robot to help out during natural disasters

Scientists from Italy have created a robot for natural disasters.

It can crawl on all fours, walk and sit up to manipulate objects. Its hands have been designed to support sophisticated manipulation skills

The animal can walk, crawl and lift objects. Its hands are made to facilitate sophisticated manipulative skills.

Iron Man can fly using rockets in his hands and feet. 'Iron Man' armour was worn by Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, played on the big screen by Robert Downey Jr

Iron Man can fly by using the rockets in both his hands and feet. Tony Stark from Marvel Comics wore Iron Man armour. Robert Downey Jr. portrayed him on the big screen.


iCub has been in development by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia experts for over a decade.  

The device is capable of performing aerial locomotion, which allows it to perform outdoor inspections and move between buildings. 

The iCub is 104cm tall and has the height of a 5-year-old. The iCub can walk, crawl and manipulate objects. To support sophisticated manipulation skills, its hands were also designed. 

According to experts at IIT, the field of robotics is still lagging behind in terms of offering affordable solutions for disaster scenarios.  

According to the website of the institute, “Every year about 300 natural catastrophes cause the deaths of approximately 90.000 people and impact 160 million people around the globe.” 

“Unfortunately, robotics remains behind in offering affordable solutions to these disaster situations. 

iCub is in development since more than fifteen years. He has been named partly in a nod to the man-cub from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. 

It stands at 3.4 feet (102.4 cm) high and is just as tall as a 5-year-old child. 

iCub is able to crawl, stand up, and walk on its own to control objects such as rubble or fragments of buildings. It also has hands that can support advanced manipulation skills.

IIT claims that this platform is unique in having a full-body sensitive skin, which allows it to safely interact with the surrounding environment. 

The small humanoid robot, called iCub, will fly using a propulsion backpack and has systems in its palms that allow it to control power and direction

The tiny humanoid robot iCub will fly with a backpack propulsion system and have systems in its hands that enable it to direct power and direction.

Experts hope the robot's size and propulsion abilities will allow it to reach spots humans or drones cannot get to

Experts hope the robot’s size and propulsion abilities will allow it to reach spots humans or drones cannot get to

For the past 15 years, IIT has been involved in robotics research with the aim of pushing Italy ahead in this sector. 

A video simulation from the experts shows how human operators could remotely use software to move iCub around a disaster scenario. 

Engineers say that the simulator is sound-simulated and derived from real jet control experiments.

“Finally the control algorithms assure vertical take-offs and landings, with flight information and orientation control. 


To aid search and rescue efforts, scientists have developed a snake robot that is able to nimbly glide its way up steep steps. 

US engineers looked at how real snakes move and created a robot that climbs large heights.

One possibility is that snake robots might one day assist in exploring inaccessible terrain. 

A car-like suspension is the breakthrough in robotic engineering. It keeps the robot on its feet as it climbs up steep stairs. 

Researchers claim that the researchers’ creation was even close to matching the speed of an actual snake. 

Continue reading: Search and Rescue robots using snake robotics can cross rugged terrain