The number one problem with drones and quadcopters is that they can easily crash and break, making users very skeptical about flying them and lose the money invested especially if it’s an expensive drone.
To combat this problem, Researchers at the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) and the Floreano Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) are working towards creating a drone that is nearly indestructible and recoils during a crash.
Most drones these days are made with carbon fiber, but this drone is created using a flexible fiberglass that has 4 magnetic joints holding the whole frame together along with the arms, and connecting the central core. The fiberglass used is about 0.3 mm thick, allowing it to endure a considerable amount of damage and crash without getting permanently destroyed.
The impact of collision is softened by the use of a visco-elastic foam that is located towards the front of the drone’s frame. This works like a cushion and allows the drone to stay safe. In the event of an impact, the drone’s frame magnets separate, making the outer frame soft and deformable and absorbing the shock instead of getting damaged.
Once it stops bouncing, the frame comes back together due to the elastic bands and the magnets come in place, letting the drone be ready to fly again!
How did the idea come to be?
The idea for the drone was taken from the wings of the wasp that have the ability to complete crumple, and still not get destroyed. Flying bugs have flexible joints that are made of protein resilin, which is attached to a hard, chitinous cuticle. This provides free movement, as well as a protective casing, and a safe amount of give. Using the same concept, the indestructible drone has been tested over 50 crashes and drops but has suffered no enduring damage.