For those who haven’t read [Ayn Rand’s] philosophical tome Atlas Shrugged, there’s a pretty cool piece of engineering stuffed in between the 100-page-long monologues. Although fictional, a character manages to harness atmospheric static electricity and convert it into kinetic energy and (spoilers!) revolutionize the world. Harnessing atmospheric static electricity isn’t just something for fanciful works of fiction, though. It’s a real-world phenomenon and it’s actually possible to build this motor.
As [Richard Feynman] showed, there is an exploitable electrical potential gradient in the atmosphere. By suspending a tall wire in the air, it is possible to obtain voltages in the tens of thousands of volts. In this particular demonstration, a hexacopter is used to suspend a wire with a set of needles on the end. The needles help facilitate the flow of electrons into the atmosphere, driving a current that spins the corona motor at the bottom of the wire.
There’s not much torque or power generated, but the proof of concept is very interesting to see. Of course, the higher you can go the more voltage is available to you, so maybe future devices such as this could exploit atmospheric electricity to go beyond a demonstration and do useful work. We’ve actually featured the motor that was used in this demonstration before, though, so if you’re curious as to how a corona motor works you should head over there.
Continue reading ““Who is John Galt?” Finally Answered”
[Robert’s] been hard at work becoming a hexacopter expert over the past two years, and he’s offered up a retrospective of his multi rotor build experience since he first clicked the “buy” button on Hobbyking. He’s come a long way from his first build, which used inexpensive carbon rods and 3D-printed parts for a frame, supported by scrap wood and hot glue. It met its end in his car; exposed to direct sunlight, the 3D-printed components melted.
The latest iteration—seen above on the right—is a complete redesign, with a laser-cut frame that dramatically reduced the overall weight and new “Donkey” motors off Hobbyking. It’s strong enough to lift a 1.6kg (3.5lbs) stuffed animal suspended from a rope! Most recently [Robert] has worked out streaming first-person video after fitting a camera to the hexacopter via a 3D-printed attachment and pairing the experience with Zeiss Cinemizer 3D glasses. He still has some bugs to work out, namely screws loosening from vibrations and adding a HUD to the display so he’ll know when the battery levels are low. You can see the poor teddy bear getting hanged along with some other videos, including the first-person video flight, after the break.
Continue reading “A Hexacopter with FPV”
First we start with some protection… for your USB charged devices. Here’s a USB Condom which acts as a pass-through for the power rails but not the data lines. This prevents untrusted charger security exploits. [Thanks Markus]
[OutKastz] seems to think he’s uncovered a price matching conspiracy at Best Buy. His post references an HDTV video wall he has built. But he also discovered that there are two different version of the same television sold as the same SKU. His theory is that this prevents the big box from matching prices on half of their inventory.
When you’re in need of some breadboarding action with your Raspberry Pi and want to make it as painless as possible you need to build your own Pi Cobbler. This is the diy version of an Adafruit product, built using a couple of pin headers, stripboard, and an IDE cable.
Speaking of Adafruit, did you see Ladyada’s teardown of an ICEdot crash sensor?
[Phineas] is showing off a really really small hexacopter. Check out the maiden flight, as well as first indoor and first outdoor tests.
Perhaps this coded entry system will inspire a future project for you. It uses piezo elements to enter a code which unlocks the back door to the company. The glass door already had a series of large dots painted on it. This turns out to be a nice interface for a four button code system.
Many projects use a Raspberry Pi as a web server. But there is more than just one flavor available. [Jeremy Morgan] performed a variety of Pi server benchmarks using Nginx, Monkey, Lighttpd, and Apache. [Thanks Walter]
Can an old TV antenna reflector be used to boost the range of a WiFi dongle? We’re a bit skeptical. Let us know what you think in the comments.
And finally, we do wish there was more information on this upright piano used to play Doom [Thanks Itay].
Online RC store Hobby King is once again encouraging people to push the limits of what quadcopters and other multirotor remote control vehicles can do. They call it the beerlift and the goal is simple: build a multirotor craft capable of carrying the greatest amount of beer (or water, everything is measured by weight).
The competition is over, but the results were spectacular. The vehicle with the largest lift capacity – pictured above – was built by [Olaf Frommann] and carried 58.7 kilograms, or nearly 128 pounds to a hover a few feet off the ground. Last year the biggest lift was a mere 47 kg with an eight-rotor craft.
It was still an impressive showing all around. The biggest lift in the 700 class – 700 mm from rotor to rotor – was done by [David Ditch] with 19.6 kg. You can check out some of the best entries below, including an amazing aerobatic quadcopter that can successfully loop carrying a cup of beer,
Continue reading “Heavy lifting copters can apparently lift people”
Over at Mad Lab Industries, they had the idea of building a quadcopter that could walk and fly. By combining a hexapod with a hexacopter, they ended up with this creation.
The hexapod part started off with PhantomX Hexapod Kit, but it was far too heavy to fly. To reduce weight, they manufactured carbon fibre parts for the frame and legs. Even with the weight reductions, they still needed to six rotors to keep it stable.
The hexacopter part of the build uses more custom carbon fibre parts to mount the motors. The booms and mounts are also custom built out of aluminium. They used six E-Flite motors, propellers, and ESCs to provide lift.
A variety of controllers are used to run the robot. Two Arbotix devices handle the hexapod control, and a Hoverfly flight controller keeps it in the air. It’s controlled remotely using a Spektrum controller.
They have some ambitious next steps, including a mechanism that disconnects and reconnects the hexacopter and the base. After the break, check out a video of this impressive build in action.
Continue reading “The Hexapod Hexacopter”
Check out this giant pink hexacopter. We see tons of quad copters here, but their bigger brothers/sisters the hexacopters don’t visit very often. When they do though, they get all dressed up as you can see in the picture above. This prototype frame is meant to protect both the props, and the innocent bystanders as you inevitably veer into something you shouldn’t. The frame is constructed mainly from carbon fiber and adds a total of about 1 Kg of weight to the copter. While it does fly, [AirvewLive] is looking for guidance on what prop/motor combo would yield more endurance. Anyone have some recommendations?
We know some of you will notice pretty quickly that he refers to this as a “ducted fan”. We realize it isn’t and we’ll forgive him this once because his build is so cool.
[thanks for the tip Mike]