An Arduino hydrogen blimp… oh the humanity!

arduino-hydrogen-balloon

This sort of flying contraption seems more suited for indoor use. Well, except for the fire hazard presented by building an Android controlled hydrogen blimp. The problems we often see with quadcopters come into play when a motor wire comes loose and the thing goes flying off in a random direction. Loosing a motor on this airship will be no big deal by comparison.

Because the build relies on the buoyancy of the gas, light-weight components are the name of the game. The frame of the chassis is built from balsa wood. It supports two tiny DC motors which are almost indistinguishable in the image above. An Arduino nano and wireless receiver monitor commands from the transmitter and drive the propellers accordingly.

You may have noticed that we categorized this one as a chemistry hack. That’s because [Btimar] generated the hydrogen himself. He used an Erlenmeyer flask with a spout for the chemical reaction. After placing several heat sinks and other scraps of solid aluminum in the flask he poured on the lye solution. This generates the H2 but you need to keep things cool using ice to keep the reaction from getting out of control. We’re going to stick with helium filled blimps for the time being!

See this beast flying around [Btimar's] living room in the clip after the break.

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Skittles, The Robotic Blimp

Blimp 4_0

Funky Shiitake Mushrooms, a high school design team from Fremont, CA, have created a low cost airship they call Skittles the Second. Skittles is a remote control robotic blimp, complete with 4 reversible propellers, wireless video, and 2.4 a GHz remote control. Somewhere between a regular RC  blimp and a Predator Drone, Skittles and FSM have managed to gain a large number of awards including winning the Digital Open grand prize. The ship performs amazingly, and can perform a full 360 in just over one second. There is a video after the break.

For the future, the group plans to give the ship autonomous capabilities, in order to avoid losing another drone in strong wind. Fortunately, after that happened to Skittles the first, they were able to hunt it down after it had floated 3 miles down the road. Since they are all high school students under 17, we would say they have a lot of potential. I, for one, welcome our new robotic blimp overlords.

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