Tag Archives: quadcopter


Drones build a rope bridge, then grad student bravely crosses it


A couple of quadrotors wove a bridge out of polyethylene fiber rope in an intricate dance. Some 120 meters of rope were used by the quadrotors to bridge the  7.4-meter gap, neatly tying  knots, links, and braiding. Ultimately, the final test was passed after an ETH Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control student crossed the robot-manufactured bridge.

The prospects are very clear: the construction workers of the future might be drones or robots. Of course, there’s a long way from a simple knotted rope bridge – built inside a controlled, lab environment – and something actually useful like a steel and concrete bridge outside. For one, the drones could not have possibly functioned without the uniform steel scaffolding for anchors or the precision indoor tracking system absent which would have made the quadcopters to not only make a mess, but crash and burn. It’s an interesting project, nevertheless. Other projects that hint to the future are the brick-laying robot or the 3D printed house.

copter to plane

This 10-engine-copter made by NASA can morph into a plane in mid-flight

Inspired by quadcopters and airplanes alike, NASA engineered made the best of both worlds and designed a 10-engine electric craft that can hover like a drone, but also cruise like a plane. Called Greased Lightning or GL-10, the craft is allegedly four times more efficient than a helicopter in cruise mode, while also retaining vertical take off capabilities.

It’s been some time since the concept has been in works, and as testament lie some of the battered prototypes which had to make a ‘hard landing’. In any event, the prototype they’re working with now and demoed on YouTube is quite impressive. The current version weighs 62 pounds with a 10-foot wingspan, and can perform an in-air transition to airplane in no time and with no difficulties. According to  Bill Fredericks, an aerospace engineer at NASA, the model can be scaled-up to “make also a great one to four-person-size personal air vehicle.” How freakin’ awesome is that?

via PopMechs