Folding Drone Unfurls in Fraction of a Second

2015-08-10

Folding Drone Unfurls in Fraction of a Second
Engineering teams around the world are putting significant time, effort and research dollars into the idea of using aerial drones in disaster relief scenarios. It makes a lot of sense: Drones are able to fly into dangerous or inaccessible locations and — outfitted with cameras and communications gear can provide reconnaissance imagery of a disaster site or even make initial contact with survivors.

One of the impediments to deploying drones, however, is that they tend to be unwieldy in terms of transport and launch. A new project underway in Europe hopes to solve this issue by way of a pocket-sized, fold-up drone that’s easy to transport and can self-deploy in seconds.


Developed by a team of researchers at the Swiss university EPFL, the drones fold into the shape of a trapezoid when not in use, wrapping horizontally around the body of the device and making them easier to package and transport. When activated, the force of the spinning rotors pop out the articulated arms, which are held in place by small magnets.

Inspired by origami, the design allows for the drone to unfurl and self-deploy within a third of a second. The arms are made from lightweight fiberglass and polyester and, once the rotors are fully extended, the upper section shifts horizontally and locks into place.

Cyborg Roaches Could Find Disaster Survivors

To maintain stability, two of the quadcopters rotors must turn clockwise, with the other two turning counter-clockwise. A sensor detects when the rotors are fully extended, then reverses the spinning direction within 50 milliseconds. The process is also designed to be reversible, although the prototype version still needs to be folded back into place by hand.

The design team is already working on a version that would fold back up on its own, along with additional improvements to allow for increased carrying weight and strength.



Drones take flight at Husker Harvest Days

2015-09-16
Drones take flight at Husker Harvest Days
Farming and ranching is ready for takeoff.
Husker Harvest Days, an annual state fair of agricultural information and technology, launched its first demonstrations Tuesday of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones.

Drone hobbyists find flaws in "close call" reports to FAA from other aircraft

2015-09-14
Drone hobbyists find flaws in "close call" reports to FAA from other aircraft

Hobbyists who scrutinized reports to the FAA of alleged close calls with drones found that pilots reported near misses in only a small fraction of the cases, according to a study obtained by USA TODAY.

FAA Releases Updated Model Aircraft Guidance

2015-09-13
FAA Releases Updated Model Aircraft Guidance

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published updated guidance on model aircraft operations that reflects current law governing hobby or recreational use of unmanned aircraft.

Is Private Airspace Ownership Really Up in the Air?

2015-09-09
Is Private Airspace Ownership Really Up in the Air?
As I write this article, many of my colleagues in the commercial drone industry have focused their attention on the State of California and are anxiously waiting to see if the California Governor will sign or veto SB 142, which recently passed in the California legislature.

Farm drones expected to take off

2015-09-08
Farm drones expected to take off
Every week, an agronomist walks a portion of the 600 acres of crops at the Sunrise Acres dairy to gather information used to fight pests, weeds and other maladies that could threaten the harvest.
It’s a labor-intensive process repeated at farms throughout Wisconsin, and it’s one farmers say could soon become vastly more efficient thanks to drone technology.

Invisible Cloak for Military UAS

2015-09-04
Invisible Cloak for Military UAS
Scientists are working on creating a new design for a technology that redefines what the public views as imaginary. Inspired by the well-known Invisibility Cloak from Harry Potter, electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have created a new design for their cloaking device, using a Teflon substrate, studded with cylinders of ceramic, that is thinner than any prior development and does not alter the brightness of light around concealed objects.

Russia and China are developing drones that could make stealth aircraft obsolete

2015-08-28
Russia and China are developing drones that could make stealth aircraft obsolete
The US and its allies continue to invest heavily in the F-35 and other stealth-capable aircraft. But Russia and China are rapidly developing systems that would negate the benefits that stealth offers.

Five Important Points to Help you Process UAS Integration in the US

2015-08-27
Five Important Points to Help you Process UAS Integration in the US
The FAA’s progress toward the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into national airspace is slow but on track, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Drones Newest Mission is Disaster Relief

2015-08-11
Drones Newest Mission is Disaster Relief
When aid workers arrived after Typhoon Haiyan hit Southeast Asia in 2013, they brought something new to help the areas battered by rain and gale force winds: unmanned aerial drones.

Unmanned aircraft taking to Texas skies for FAA testing

2014-02-27
Unmanned aircraft taking to Texas skies for FAA testing

Increasing numbers of aircraft are taking to the Texas skies unmanned.


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