Elasticopter has flexible chassis and a novel mechanism that expands or collapses and can grip and match the shape of the parcel to be lifted
Researchers at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad, have come up with a working prototype of a flexible drone that changes its shape to fit the size of package to be lifted.
The shape-changing drone named Elasticopter has a flexible chassis and a novel mechanism that expands or collapses. It can grip and match the shape of the parcel to be lifted. The design by robotics researcher Suraj Bonagiri has already been patented.
Current designs of drones focus only on the weight of parcels to be lifted, ignoring their size. Packages, however, come in various sizes and are an important parameter to be factored in.
Existing drones, even if they can lift and deliver packages of varying shapes, have a short battery life and flight time.
With Elasticopter’s method of attachment to cargo, the mass is always centred and this results in an optimal battery performance. It also ranks high on stability because of the unique positioning of the propellers.
Professors Spandan Roy and Madhava Krishna guided Bonagiri in the project. Bonagiri has pre-incubated Elasticopter at Maker’s Lab, a dedicated prototyping (mechanical and digital) facility set up with support from the department of science and technology under NIDHI-PRAYAS.
The initial prototype built by Bongari won him a productisation grant of Rs 8 lakh from the institute. Fabrication of the second prototype design using high quality materials is currently underway and a commercial model is expected to go public by the end of the year.
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