Off-Road Quad Uses… A Pneumatic Drive?

AirQuad_Outside

Now here’s a really cool engineering degree project — a team of students from a university in Vienna have made a pneumatically driven motor — and fitted it into a quad! (Translated)

The team consists of [Simon Friesacher], [Simon Schedl], [Christoph Sieber] and [Manuel Streith] who all happen to be in the same class as [Maximilian] and [Sebastian] the duo who brought us the VoLumen display, and [Max's] Ripper CNC!

For their main project, the goal was to create an alternative and innovative motor — one that runs off of compressed air, using firefighter’s air tanks. Once they had that figured out, they decided to have some fun with it and put together the Air Quad. It only has a range of a few kilometers, and doesn’t perform quite as well its original gasoline counterpart, but we have to admit, it’s a very slick proof of concept!

Stick around after the break to see a promotional demo of the Air Quad in action!

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Quadbike: smaller is faster

After three huge mutant vehicle builds, [Tom Wilson] thought: “why not build another?” This time he decided to weld together a (comparatively) smaller more agile two-seater he calls the Boxer. We covered [Tom]‘s previous quadbike, Big Dog, which features a similar tube frame, full suspension, and the familiar culvert pipe wheels.  This time around [Tom] actually built an extensive jig out of plywood to ease in the build process.  The Boxer is much lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at 125lbs Vs the Big Dog’s 490lbs, and about four feet shorter.  The shorter lighter vehicle makes for a much more agile ride.  If you are interested in building your own quadbike [Tom]‘s site is a really good resource with tons of detail.

We really look forward to seeing this latest creation at burning man, check out a video of the (comparatively speedy) Boxer in action after the jump!

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Quadcopter pair plays table tennis without the table

This pair of quad-rotor helicopters does a better job of keeping a ping-pong ball in the air than we could. The two flying drones are performing inside of the flying machine arena, a 1000 cubic meter indoor space surrounded by nets with a foam-padded floor. This makes for a prototype-friendly space, protecting the copters from hard landings and the experimenters from the maiming that might accompany a runaway robot.

This project is headed by researcher [Raffaello D'Andrea]. Previously, we’ve seen his work on a distributed flight array. This time around he’s not working with configurable modules, but completely separate units. Don’t miss the video after the break to see several iterations used to keep a ball in the air. Each bot has the head of a tennis racket mounted at its center. Throw a ball at them and they’ll to what they can to prevent it touching the ground.

While we’re on the topic, we caught a story on NPR about hobby drones. Sounds like their growing popularity has caught the attention of the non-hacker community and restrictions might be on the way. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and make your own flyer while it’s still the wild-west of personal drones.

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Quadbike: bigger is better

[Tom Wilson] has finished his latest human powered quadcycle. The BigDog, as its called, seats 4 persons in lawn chairs who pedal to their destination. We say latest, for [Tom] also made a slightly smaller version called The DogSled. Some improvements include being taller (8 feet total), larger (11 feet by 6 feet), and surprisingly lighter (over half the weight, bringing it in to 450 pounds). The build process is just as impressive as the bike itself; using pneumatic disk brakes to golf cart axles to even drainage pipe, its a perfect fit for burning man. Catch a video after the divide.

[Thanks Mowcius]

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Distributed Flight Array

Though it is in the beginning stages of development, the Distributed Flight Array is already looking very interesting. Each unit can scuttle across the ground using the down force from its prop, but when 4 or more join forces, they can take off and fly. The documentation shows that they should be smart enough to fly in random configurations, though in the video we only see the standard 4 prop layout. This is being worked on by the same people who produced the balancing cube.

[via BoingBoing]

Hexacopter


Quad copters have been pretty popular for the last few years, but this one is new to us. Take the same basic layout, but bump it to 6 rotors. Then you’ll have the hexacopter (google translated). With 6 rotors, built in GPS and stabilization and a camera mounted on the bottom, this thing is pretty well equipped. You can see how agile and stable it is in the video above. We know it isn’t necessarily new, but it is new to us. Of course, you don’t have to stop at 6 rotors. You could always just continue on to 8.

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