Quadcopters!

Like in the excerpt, Quadrotors are these marvelous machines that can perform intricate maneuvers, hold glass items precisely, take feed of an NFL game for national TV, or fire Hydra rockets at tanks, and can do other jobs. They can take video for our news site of rocket launches, spy on america’s enemies, or play the James Bond theme, done at the University of Pennsylvania.

In studio 501, you can see a small green quad zipping around the room from time to time after school as trainees practice by flying it around the room. Upon closer inspection, one can see the small computer chip, and the 4 tiny motors buzzing softly as the Quad lifts of the ground slightly, then skids around in between desks, chairs, and tables before it rises up to roughly 6 feet, then starts zooming around the room, and then, it hits the wall! It tumbles, but stabilizes, with no apparent damage to rotors, wall, or electronics.

The strength and performance is of the Blade Nano (the small green one) and the Blade MQX (a larger, recent purchase) is because of the lightness of the frame. Besides using the paper-thinnest possible walls, it also uses Carbon Fiber, a new strong, light type of material that can take a beating and still take more, and when it’s had enough, you can simply patch the hole, or replace the frame for VERY cheap.

 

There also the new, tiny motors. These motors can allow these quads to do stunts, like steep climbs followed by insane spins, flips, then it balances, rises, flies over the landing area, then slowly descends into the bed of a truck, and the truck drives off. This is a way the quad’s motors help by taking difficult commands from the chip, and executing them quickly. These small, powerful motors can make the quad do flips, tricks, and also be stable enough to get good shots of football games and rocket launches.

And the electronics are a big thing too. When the quad landed back in the truck bed, what happened was a “return to start position” button was pressed. The transmitter sends out a spectrum signal, meaning anything that can get the signal becomes a receiver. Then, when the receiver is identified (all within .28 seconds), the quad rises to 60 feet, comes over its home, and slowly descends, and into the truck bed. This is because the DJI phantom has a GPS, Altimeter, and many Gyros and Autopilots to help it perform this intelligent function.

This is all the crazy things you can do with Quads. Like at the University of Pennsylvania. They have them perform maneuvers, like spins, flips, and rolls, but in a different way. They get the commands from the computer, but they don’t do them  perfectly. They execute them, then again, and again, and again, until they get it perfect. They try it once, then they take the information from receivers it the airframe about G-effects and position while in the maneuver. They take said information, and process it at incredible speeds, and the re-attempt it over and over until it’s just right. This is the way we can use quads for anything, because they can take information, and make other trials better, until they’re perfect!

With all this technology, you would think a system like this would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not true. We are expecting the arrival of a professional-quality “DJI Phantom”, a quadrotor specifically designed to carry a camera. With this, we plan to get exciting footage for broadcast. Stay tuned!

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