A drone developed by Stanford University students is able to stick to walls and ceilings to avoid bad weather such as wind and rain or monitor conditions from afar, without being directly affected.

The quadcopter grips to any surface – whether horizontal or vertical – using opposed microspines and the surface’s bumps and ridges. It can inch up or down a wall or surface using its tail spin to find the perfect spot to wait until bad conditions clear, or its mission is complete.

Once in position, the drone can continue shooting video, hiding from any predators or in the shadows so it can record some unique footage. This method was save vital battery power, so it can preserve battery power and hang on for longer periods of time than a drone that’s constantly moving.

Although the drone seems to be more of a plaything than a serious drone, the students designed it to survey building deterioration, environmental monitoring, measuring the impact of earthquakes or fire rescue. It could also potentially be used to spy on rare animals or species without being seen.

The first version of the drone was developed a year ago, although the researchers admit it wasn’t as effective as they were originally hoping, saying in a research note it’s “not as foolproof as landing on a level surface, [but] closer than ever to making perching accessible outside a research environment.”

Stanford is now further developing its drone to try and make the drone better at holding on to surfaces for a longer period time and will explore alternative methods such as using sticky adhesives so they can land and grip onto smooth surfaces.