More cool micro UAV platforms--monocopter and VTOL

From BotJunkie: "The University of Maryland monocopter can take off from the ground, hover, fly controllably, and land without killing itself. The key was a lot of research into the flight characteristics of the seed pods themselves, which enables the monocopter to autorotate just like the real thing. Obviously, the camera isn’t really useful for surveillance at this stage, but that’s solvable. Researchers suggest that the craft could be airdropped, autorotate for a while, and then be controlled remotely for “defense, fire monitoring and search-and-rescue purposes.”"

And also from BotJunkie, "a prototype of a micro air vehicle called AirBurr that comes from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL. The version in this video is a remote controlled prototype, but the design is intended to be autonomous, with robust collision recovery in indoor environments. AirBurr is a sort of cross between a helicopter and an airplane, with a bunch of airplane style control surfaces and a horizontal plane lifting rotor like a helicopter. "

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Comment by bGatti on October 26, 2009 at 9:18am
Patent Pending?
Too bad Wowee has had this product in your local radio shack for two years, er, complete with autopilot.

OK, the wowee has two wings; so this is half a wowee. Plus there's another company with a mono wing version of the same thing being sold to the military as a powered boomerang.

Good luck with patenting the obvious and already built.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on October 26, 2009 at 9:44am
I must admit I wondered if they had taken the guts out of a wowee to start with, they are gone.... from the shops now.
Comment by Jack Crossfire on October 26, 2009 at 10:29am
Monocopters use pushbroom cameras & are quite good at surveillance.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on October 26, 2009 at 10:34am
I've got a spare unopened Wowee that I was going to use a T3 prize. It's cool technology, but a pretty marginal toy. Better for learning about miniaturization than playing with....
Comment by Andrew Lynch on October 26, 2009 at 10:54am
Embry Riddle used this design at the 2009 IARC competition as an autnomous robot.
Comment by Peter Meister on October 26, 2009 at 2:54pm
UM has probably the best aeronautics courses in the world. Very innovated design with this one. Man I remember the days at the stamp student hall :) GO TERPS!!!!

Comment by Jason Short on October 26, 2009 at 5:14pm
I could totally see a panoramic camera being used on this platform. Imaging a sweeping vertical sensor grabbing a 360 view 100 times a second.
Comment by James Harwood on October 26, 2009 at 5:35pm
Very very neat - that seed pod design is just so cool.
Comment by Mike Bakula on October 26, 2009 at 5:52pm
Thanks Andrew, that was my project. Monocopters are not as easy as they look. We're still working on the control issues -- it's a lot more nonlinear than we thought at first. OTOH, unlike Maryland, we're using onboard sensing, and Arduino for low-level control.


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