Military drones may be high-tech but this stick-built one sticks out

Video surfaced of the wooden device flying.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Stock photo: The drone was made of sticks.
Stock photo: The drone was made of sticks.


It’s not every day that you witness advanced electronics made out of sticks. On Friday, science news outlet PopSci spotted a Tweet of a Yemini drone made entirely of sticks.

The post read in Arabic “Yemeni makes aircraft from stalks of qat.” The surprisingly agile drone is seen flying in the video.

“I think the biggest benefit of this design is that once key materials are available – a battery, a receiver, several small motors, propellers and wiring – such a drone can be essentially assembled ‘on the fly,’ pun intended,” Samuel Bendett, an analyst at the Center for Naval Analysis and adjunct senior fellow at the Center for New American Security, tells PopSci.

The drone consists of the most basic parts required for such a device: motors, writes, controls, and something it can all stick to, wooden logs.

“Obviously, some experience building and flying such quadcopters is helpful in making sure the drone can be properly stabilized, but a lot of those requirements and knowledge is freely available online as well,” says Bendett.

“The main point of this video is that the quadcopter frame can be assembled from any products freely available. And the rest of the components can be relatively easily procured or even built/3D printed if necessary.”

Simple DIY drones

In April of 2022, another video surfaced from Ukraine's Defense Ministry that showed a soldier allegedly dismantling a Russian military surveillance drone and pointing out several of its highly unsophisticated features.

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Seeing what the whole drone consisted of it seems like something a schoolchild could put together. The drone being taken apart was an Orlan-10 model that fell on Ukrainian soil.

The first thing the soldier pointed out is that the drone's camera is a simple generic handheld Canon DSLR, the kind you can find on any tourist's camera. The soldier then went on to show how the cap of the drone's fuel tank consisted of a top and a lid of a plastic water bottle.

He also showcased how the drone was being held together by simple duct tape in several key areas. The video highlighted how simple it is to create a drone and even use it for warfare.

An edible drone

Another drone, showcased by IEEE Spectrum this week, showed how easy it is to build a drone from everyday materials. The device was engineered with rice cakes and its makers indicated that it could be eaten in case of an emergency.

“The reason why this drone exists is to work toward the effective and efficient delivery of food to someone who, for whatever reason, really, really needs food and is not in a position to gain access to it in any other way. The idea is that you could fly this drone directly to them and keep them going for an extra day or two. You obviously won’t get the drone back afterward (because its wings will have been eaten off), but that’s a small price to pay for potentially keeping someone alive via the delivery of vital calories,” wrote the news outlet.