GET A GRASP(ER)
Different aerial grasping robots from DARPA, UPenn, and Yale are
just plain cool. Now researchers from the University of Twente in the
Netherlands, and a scruffy-looking hobbyist from Trossen Robotics have
developed their own.
The University of Twente is part of the AIRobots project, the goal of
which is "to develop a new generation of aerial service robots capable to
support human beings in all those activities which require the ability to
interact actively and safely with environments not constrained on ground
but, indeed, freely in air." (Whew!)
This particular AIRobot is being developed by professor Stefano
Stramigiol, Raffaella Carloni, postdoc Matteo Fumagalli, and Ph.D. student
Abeje Y. Mersha.
It's kind of amazing how, just in the last few years, plummeting
hardware costs and skyrocketing capabilities have enabled that group of geniuses we like to call "hobbyists" to more or less
keep up with just about whatever the latest research is — at least when it comes to the hardware itself.
Andrew Alter, one of the instigators of Mech Warfare and current senior executive robot geek at Trossen, writes:
“I designed a modified PhantomX hexapod and we built it out of carbon fiber so it would be light enough to fly. Some
friends at Mad Lab Industries are quadcopter gurus, so building the rest of the custom hexacopter was a breeze.”
Developing robots that can fly and move along the ground has been a priority for the military for a while, because flying
robots are versatile but suck down batteries like nobody's business. While perhaps not the most efficient of compromises, the
hexapodocopter is pretty sweet, and there has to be some potential there just for that reason.
HOLY FLYING FRIJOLES!
A team at Darwin Aerospace (DA) must
have been too busy to stop working when they
came up with the idea of the Burrito Bomber.
The idea here is to order a burrito via an app
while your phone sends your location. A burrito
is loaded into a “delivery tube” which is flown
and dropped to you.
It works like this:
You connect to the Burrito Bomber web-app and order a burrito. Your smartphone sends
your current location to the DA server, which
generates a waypoint file compatible with the
The waypoint file is uploaded to the drone and your
burrito is loaded into a custom-made burrito delivery tube.
The drone flies to your location and releases the burrito
delivery tube. The burrito parachutes down to you, the drone
flies itself home, and you enjoy your carne asada.
The airframe is a Sky Walker X8 Flying Wing. The plane
uses Ardupilot to navigate the skies. The burrito release
mechanism is the combination of a Quantum RTR Bomb
System, a 3" diameter mailing tube, and some 3D printed
parts that were designed in-house. The plane is controllable
either manually via live video transmitted from the plane, or
autonomously using the Ardupilot autopilot. A Futaba 9C
controller and EzUHF transmitter are used to manually
control the plane.
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