3D Robotics

3689480673?profile=originalFrom Hackaday:

The biggest issue with sending expensive electronics into near space is trying to recover them. [Lhiggs] set out to solve this issue with his Senior project for a Mechanical Engineering degree. He figured that a payload dropped from 100,000 feet should be able to glide its way back to some predefined coordinates. Here you can see one of the tests, where the payload is guiding its descent using a parafoil.

Directional control is possible with a parafoil simply by shifting weight between the two supporting ropes. In this case [Lhiggs] designed the payload to hang from a pair of servo-motor-actuated arms. Since the payload already carries altitude and position hardware (such as a GPS, electronic compass, and altimeter) it’s just a matter of waiting for the target height before separating from the weather balloon, then using the servos to navigate to the landing zone.

Unfortunately the project was never fully completed. But you can see that he got pretty far. There is test footage embedded after the break showing the device being dropped from a plane.

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  • I think low altitude dynamic effects and stability issues are the elephant in the room.... :)

  • @Daniel have a go, especially at high altitude as was the aim of this project. I think you'll be unpleasantly surprised by some of the dynamic effects you encounter, for example the added mass effect in low density fluids making it very unstable. It might make you less quick to dismiss it as easy.

  • Moderator

    There are quite a few guided parachutes out there, hats off to the chap for trying though http://www.atair.com/

  • If it didn't have to be completed, wonder what kind of senior project I could get away with.

  • Dang thought of that 2 years ago. Maybe I should do it and actually get it done. Its honestly isnt even that hard of a project. For being a college student, I'm not impressed
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