It costs less than a quarter of the $1,400 bill of materials estimated for the Japanese Defense Ministry's flying sphere. The battery gives it a running time of only 12 minutes. And its CPU is only a 468MHz ARM9. But the AR.Drone 2.0, which Parrot introduced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, has impressive hovering, takeoff, and landing abilities similar to those of the Japanese sphere. (You can access videos here and here.)
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 has a streamlined hull for outside use. For inside use,
a full hull shield protects it from impact.
The AR.Drone 2.0 is the second version of the popular flying robot, which its maker calls a flying, augmented reality video game. It's got on-board video cameras and WiFi for streaming video to the handheld control device, which can be an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad. Though it was designed for Apple platforms, it will be available on other hardware "in the next few months," the company says. It can also be controlled with a Linux PC and a joystick using the AR.Drone Navigation software, which is available for free and was designed for application developers.
With some imagination and better electronics, the robot could be both cheap and powerful enough to form a design platform for machine vision and military applications. It's also really cool to look at, and I bet it's a lot of fun to play with. If I were an engineer, I'd want to figure out how to make it more powerful without weighing too much more or compromising its moves.
The Parrot quadricopter is made of carbon fiber and high-resistance PA66 plastic, a polyamide, or nylon. Its embedded CPU runs Linux, and memory is kept at a low 128Mbytes of 200MHz DDR. Running speed is 16.4 feet per second, or 11.2mph. With its protective hull for indoor use, it measures 20.7 inches x 20.3 inches. Outdoors, without the hull, the Parrot measures 17.7 inches x 11.4 inches. With or without the hull, it weighs less than a pound.
You're absolutely right Ann: I bet a lot of engineers are going to be drooling over this robot and the opportunity to figure out how it works and to extend it. Is this designed to be a toy or is just to showcase technology that has broader potential--perhaps for some of the applications you mentioned?
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.