Micro Drone of the Future

3689667930?profile=originalI've been looking at micro drones lately and I'm now sure it is likely that the future of the drone is the tiny drone much like this mechanical dragonfly.

With the use of very tiny piezoelectric actuators that draw very little current I believe it is now possible to create these very tiny flying drones. 

3689667738?profile=originalThis is a tiny fiber optic camera. One day soon I believe there will be chip sized drones! Likely based on the dragonfly using the tiny battery cells already available. The tiny drone will be based on carrying it's battery payload.

I just thought it might be interesting to see how tiny drones might really get in the near future. I'm not talking about 50 years into the future, I'm talking 5 maybe 10 years ahead!

So before you swat that next bug you might want to check it out first! LOL soon it could be a tiny drone and not really a bug!

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  • The Festo Butterfly is interesting.Nature has made some very small self refueling autonomous drones in the form of insects. I think within a decade we could have useful systems as small as a fly, if there is a market. They would be great for military and emergency response reconnaissance.
  • I told you people ARE thinking! :)

  • One problem with Piezo is that it tends to be pretty inefficient, producing often more heat than motion.

    Still there are already examples of this actually being used, I think the trick is going to be to look beyond biomimicry to see what a top down design might be as opposed to a simple evolutionary bottom up incremental design.

    We don't really want to build a dragonfly or a humming bird, we as engineers want to design the thing optimally to the desired performance from the start.

    Evolution can be a good guide to see how some amazing things are accomplished, but it is a terrible engineering design paradigm.



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    I thought the Festo butterflies were also rather cool ... They have some amazing talent.

  • i did my final year dissertation for uni on this subject. i used voice coil actuators instead of piezo actuators, i don't know if its possible to get them small enough but i only had to simulate the motion in solidworks. 

  • I think it is possible piezoelectric's are a solution to "electric muscles" piezo's can be used just like muscle cells and can be stacked like muscle cells for longer movement.

    You may be right it's not the complete solution but I do think they would work pretty good in a dragonfly design.

  • Bojan, you don't think piezoelectric actuators could produce the same effect without any gears? At the speed of piezoelectric's these same drones would be rock stable just like a real dragonfly. Actually I think they might fly even better than the real thing because dragonflies seem to think pretty erratically :)

    Piezo's would make this look clunky and erratic. You could do a humming bird with piezo's!

    I can't embed the youtube because embeding was not allowed "by request" but here is the website.   http://www.avinc.com/nano

    Visit Aerovironment Inc.
    AeroVironment, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and tactical missile systems used for surveillance and reconnaissance by t…
  • This looks pretty real to me :) What do you think?

  • Well I believe right now with enough funding I could develop a piezoelectric dragonfly if I just didn't have so many other projects going. I'm pretty determined to get this technology into space which is a very taxing endeavor. But I do want to put the spark into the hands of our future, all the fine young people here at DIY Drones.

    I believe I'm not the only one that could in fact I know there is someone out there right now thinking about it. I'm just trying to push that person forward! Because I believe they will do it. If you are that person all I can say is GO FOR IT! Because it's coming and you might be the one that does it.

    I think that would be very cool :)   

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