World’s tiniest drone has just one prop


World’s Tiniest Drone

World’s tiniest drone: The Monospinner: a controllable flying vehicle with a single moving part in the ETH Zurich Flying Machine Arena This video introduces the monospinner, the mechanically simplest controllable flying machine in existence. It has only one moving part (the rotating propeller).

 

Published on Apr 21, 2016

The vehicle features no additional actuators or aerodynamic surfaces. The monospinner cannot hover like a standard multicopter.
World’s tiniest drone: However, an unconventional equilibrium is found by analyzing the vehicle’s dynamics. For a certain constant angular speed and propeller force, the monospinner is able to remain substantially in one position.
Feedback control keeps the vehicle near this equilibrium. The mechanical design is chosen based on two robustness metrics: the ability to maintain hover under perturbations and the probability of input saturation based on a stochastic model.
World’s tiniest drone: The resulting vehicle is sufficiently robust to achieve hover after being launched like a Frisbee. Researchers: Weixuan Zhang, Mark W. Mueller and Raffaello D’Andrea Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control (IDSC), ETH Zurich, Switzerland – http://www.idsc.ethz.ch

 

Super impressive control implementation to make this work. From Popular Mechanics:

The drone is built using a 3D-printed frame, a lithium polymer battery, a motor, and a simple control mechanism. These simple parts ensure that the drone is very cheap and easy to build.

World’s tiniest drone: “One of the interesting things about the design is that much of the complexity is in the design of the body which is 3D printed,” said researcher Mark Yim to Digital Trends. “Since the cost of 3D-printed parts are based on the volume of plastic in the part, and independent of complexity, the flyer is very low-cost.”

 

The researchers hope that their drones could be used in swarms for applications like search and rescue, where hundreds of small Piccolissimos could be used for the same cost as a single large quadcopter.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have unveiled the world’s smallest self-powered drone, which weighs only 2.5 grams and is the size of a quarter.

The tiny drone is called Piccolissimo, after the Italian word for pocket-sized. The drone comes in two versions: the quarter-sized one, and a slightly larger and heavier one that is steerable.

The drone can fly and steer because both the body and the propeller work together. A tiny motor spins the body while the propeller spins the opposite direction. The propeller is mounted off-center, which is how the drone steers. By precisely changing the speed of the propeller at different points during the rotation of the body, the drone can control the direction of its movement. It’s a trick that’s been put to use in larger drones before, and is no less clever now that it’s smaller.

The drone is built using a 3D-printed frame, a lithium polymer battery, a motor, and a simple control mechanism. These simple parts ensure that the drone is very cheap and easy to build.

“One of the interesting things about the design is that much of the complexity is in the design of the body which is 3D printed,” said researcher Mark Yim to Digital Trends. “Since the cost of 3D-printed parts are based on the volume of plastic in the part, and independent of complexity, the flyer is very low-cost.”

The researchers hope that their drones could be used in swarms for applications like search and rescue, where hundreds of small Piccolissimos could be used for the same cost as a single large quadcopter.

Source: UPenn via Digital Trends






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