Foldable Drone Takes Off In Less Than 1 Second

Swiss researchers have built a small foldable drone that can unfurl and take off in seconds.

Stefano Mintchev and Dario Floreano, two researchers and drone enthusiasts from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, have created a mini drone that folds up in 0.5 seconds.

The four wings are made of fiberglass, and the drone has magnets to snap out and lock the wings into place.

The drone only weighs about 1.3 ounces. When folded, it fits in a box about 6.3 by 6.3 by 1.4 inches. When unfolded the drone is 2.3 by 2.3 by 1.4 inches. Obviously the drone is too small to carry a heavy payload, so don’t expect it to deliver an Amazon package anytime soon.

Here’s more on how the folding technique works, according to Live Science.

“When the device is not in use, the arms - which are made of Fiberglass and light yet rigid polyester - fold up into a trapezoid. When switched on, the force of the propellers causes the arms to unfold horizontally. Then, magnets keep the arms locked into position.

“In order for the drone to remain stable during flight, two of the propellers (diagonally across from each other) need to spin in the opposite direction from the other two, the researchers said.

“The propellers all spin the same direction while the drone unfolds, but a sensor detects when the arms have locked into position, and within 50 milliseconds, the direction of two of the rotors is reversed, so the drone is ready to take off.”

The researchers are currently working on lighter designs that will allow for larger drones, as well as arms that can survive crashes.

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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