Okay folks, what comes to your mind every time we talk about UAV? A military aircraft used in the combat zones, right? Yeah well, to tell you the truth that is the image we have implanted in our minds thanks to the media! However, we are here today to tell you that UAVs have other images too. Let’s say for example; a rather playful image of an UAV working to monitor the environment. Sounds peaceful, right?
Meet Dr. Paul Pounds who works at the University of Queensland, Australia who has designed not one but two UAVs which are to send out a positive image of the UAVs while working for the betterment of environment. But that’s not all, these UAVs’ design has been created keeping in mind that we are opting for such a cheaply manufactured UAV, that it can be used once and then discarded. Yup, they were in fact trying to make a single-use and disposable robot! Let’s talk about the two designs and see what their intended use is.
The first design has been modeled while being inspired from a paper plane. It has been created with a cellulose sheet that has, using ink-jet printer, electronic circuits on its body. After these circuits have been ‘laid’ the UAV is exposed to a curing process that employs UV light. This results in the transformation of the UAVs body into a circuit board which is flexible. The UAVs’ avionics system is attached to the rear of the UAV and is connected to the circuits enabling it to steer itself while it is being deployed to a targeted area.
The second design has a name already; Samara. This UAV is somewhat odd looking and that is because it has been designed to look like a maple seed. This one has been built from a circuit board that is rigid unlike the sheet used for the first design and has sensors placed on a small PCB at the leading end of the UAV. The intended use for Samara is to drop them in large numbers from a larger drop vehicle in order to survey a vast area. The Samara, owing to its design, will fall to the ground quite gently all the while rotating – similar to a helicopter’s blades- and will be collecting information related to environment that would be valuable.
We still have our doubts if Dr. Pound’s creative designs would come into a full scale production stage or not, but what can be seen clearly is that many corporations and research institutes are taking a lot of interest in UAVs and not just for military purposes. With efforts of many universities around the world, including all top 10 engineering colleges, its nice to see this technology moving forward and producing other research outcomes such as the robotic bird which is so real it got attacked by a hawk. We sincerely hope that these designs prove handy and are made use of for peaceful purposes.