Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Those Magnificent Men and their Flying 3D Machines

‘Those magnificent men in their flying machines, they go up tiddly up up, they go down tiddly down down. They enchant all the ladies and steal all the scenes, with their up tiddly up up and their down tiddly down down. Up, down, flying around, looping the loop and defying the ground.

Well, those magnificent men have invented a new kind of flying machine: Drone 3D Printers! There are number of efforts here, aimed at different outcomes!

Imperial College London have built autonomous ‘flying 3D printer’ drones, which could protect people from nuclear waste. The drones can print ‘sticky’ foam on dangerous objects before attaching themselves and lifting the hazard away. The engineers hope that the drones will one day be capable of printing nests in treetops to enable them to rest and recharge before continuing.

In a video demonstration, a quadcopter (a drone with four rotors) can be seen printing a sticky foam substance onto a small block, before flying away. Then a Hexacopter (six rotors) takes the quadcopter's place, landing on the sprayed object and waiting for the foam to set. The Hexacopter flies off with the foreign object.
Another potential applications could include ad-hoc construction of first response structures in search-and-rescue scenarios, as well as "printing structures to bridge gaps in discontinuous terrain.
Thomas Creedy, a student working on the project at Imperial College London, says ‘This is an exciting first step in the lab's development of co-operative robotic systems for building structures inspired by the natural world.’

But the one outstanding application for Flying 3D Printers, is that you will be able to rent them on a time share basis. Click on-line and off a F3DP goes direct to your business, or home, or school, etc, for a few hours, days, weeks, etc. Giving flexibility and near instant access to such magnificent flying machines (up tiddly up up)!

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