Flying Sphere! Saw this on slashdot, anyone want to give it a try?

I am looking for a new project to start.  Anyone willing to give this a try?  It's WAY over my head, but as far as durability, weight vs flight time, etc it seems like a ingenious project.  I don't know why their flight time is so low, but it looks like there is just one motor and 8 rudders (i.e. 1 motor and 8 servos).  From a cost perspective this seems like a cheap build, and I am sure that saving money on props won't hurt!

 

 

http://www.reuters.com/video/2011/07/14/flying-sphere-goes-where-ma... 

 

Or click here

Tags: flying, rescue, sphere

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Here's a video of it flying

 

Flying Sphere

I have been toying with doing a similar project for a while, and stumbled upon this site while doing some basic research. I have limited experience with R/C planes but have done a lot of robot construction (Combat robots in particular), am decent at CAD, and have been a programmer for 35 years.

 

I've been doing some thinking about the apparent spherebot design and I think some significant simplifications can be made to it:

 

1) Use an egg-shaped cage so that the device tends to self-right a bit more easily; also, it will require less structural materials.

 

2) Put as much of the mass as low as possible in the device, both to help with self-righting and to improve the static stability in-flight.

 

3) The spherebot is supposed to have 8 servo'd vanes, but it is unclear to me whether this is necessary (or in fact, true). AFAICT a combination of 4 fixed wings with large ailerons can provide all the needed control inputs.

 

4) If (3) is true, then hacking the Arducopter code to provide the control outputs ought to be relatively easy -- a first cut would just remap the 4 motor outputs into 4 servo + 1 thrust output.

 

5) This project is tailor-made for a custom CF frame, probably including some 3D-printed connectors. I'd love an excuse to play around with with the 3D stuff...

 

At this point, I would like to get some feedback as to whether my thinking above is reasonably correct. If so, then I'll need some advice as to the appropriate parts to design around.

 

OFC, the results of all of this would be shared back to the community.

I stumbled on this a while ago and decided to give it a go. Still early days yet but the structure of the ball is in place, just. Would be cool to see what anyone has done so far.

Did you get any far?

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