Drone research Stories October 25

FlyCroTugs: Small wasp-inspired drone can pull 40 times its own weight

The FlyCroTugs, Developed in the labs of Mark Cutkosky, the Fletcher Jones Chair in the School of Engineering at Stanford University, and Dario Floreano at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, are small drones that can pull 40 times their own weight. The name derives from Flying MiCro Tugging and the small unmanned aircraft are inspired by wasps and geckos. Wasps can drag much larger prey away by using a special structure on their feet called an arolium. It helps them to get grip on a surface. Geckos have a similar ability to find grip on very smooth surfaces although they use a different technique. The FlyCroTugs drones took inspiration from both the wasps and geckos and it allows them to drag items that are far too heavy to carry. If a task is too big for a single drone, FlyCroTugs can team up and achieve extraordinary results, such as opening a door. See the video below.

Drone research Stories October 8

Tests performed at the University of Dayton Research Institute’s Impact Physics Lab show that even the impact of a small drone, like a DJI Phantom can have severe consequences. The tests were designed to mimic a midair collision at 238 mph. A 2.1-pound DJI Phantom 2 drone was launched into the wing of a Mooney M20 aircraft. As you can see in the video below, the drone did not shatter upon impact but tore open the leading edge of the wing. It entered the wing’s structure and damaged the main spar, posing a risk to manned aircraft.

10/8/18: The article was updated with a longer version video about the test.

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Drone research Stories August 13

We reported briefly on Ocean Alliance before, but this video that the non-profit organization provided us with is simply too good not to be shared. The drone footage of the whales is amazing and also the innovative way these researchers have been able to use drones, is a great example of how these unmanned aircraft can be used for good in the world. DJI has acknowledged this as well and is an official partner for the not-for-profit. The organization uses an Inspire drone, called the SnotBot to capture the droplets with DNA as the whales exhale by flying the drone through the spray. Fascinating stuff!

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Drone research Stories July 5

Harshwardhan Zala, a 15-year-old boy from the city of Ahmedabad in India, has a passion for saving lives across the globe. Zala has built drones that detect landmines and already has a handful of patents at his young age. The South Korean army has shown interest in his company, Areobotics7 Tech Solutions, and the technology he has invented.

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Drone research Stories May 16

Every spring, in what is one of the world’s largest migrations, thousands of great white sharks swim from along America’s West Coast to an area in the Pacific Ocean that is half-way in between San Diego and Hawaii. The area is about the size of Colorado and is known among marine biologists as the White Shark Cafe. Not much was known as to why the marine predators hang out here or what they are up to. However, this year we finally got some answers as two Saildrones were sent out there to monitor the great whites.

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Drone research Stories April 17

Drones are being used to monitor deforestation and to track malaria-carrying macaque monkeys deep in the Malaysian forests. Especially in Borneo, there has been a surge in the deadly ‘monkey malaria’, with the disease accounting for 69% of all the human malaria cases in Malaysia. With the help of drones outfitted with infrared cameras, researchers of the Monkey Bar Project are able to better track the monkeys through the forest and ultimately slow down the spreading of the disease.

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