Perching Project Drones Wait For You
The Perching Project at Stanford seeks to develop a drone that can fly toward a wall, detect the appropriate distance and then put its nose up to land and perch on the wall surface.
(Perching project flight path diagram)
Here's the mission vision in a nutshell:
A flock of small, unmanned air vehicles flies quietly into a city, maneuvering among the buildings. They communicate as they search for places to land, not on streets or flat rooftops but on the sides of buildings and under the eaves, where they can cling, bat or insect-like, in safety and obscurity. Upon identifying landing sites, each flier turns toward a wall, executes an intentional stall and, as it begins to fall, attaches itself using feet equipped with miniature spines that engage small asperities on the surface. Using its propeller in combination with its limbs, the flier can creep along the wall and reorient for a better view. With opposed pairs of spines, the flier clings tenaciously to resist gusts of wind and ride out inclement weather. The fliers stay attached for hours or days, consuming little power and emitting no sound as they monitor the area. When finished, they launch themselves with a jump and become airborne again, ready for their next mission.
SF fans from the Golden Age recall a fictional miniature flying machine that can perch and stare - the Scarab Flying Insect Robot from the 1936 story by Raymond Z. Gallun.
The Scarab paused on its perch for a moment, as if to determine for itself whether it was perfectly fit for action. It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...
...the Scarab buzzed into the great workroom as any intruding insect might, and sought the security of a shadowed corner. There it studied its surroundings, transmitting to its manipulator, far away now, all that it heard through its ear microphones and saw with its minute vision tubes.
Philip K. Dick deserves an honorable mention for his robotic tracking device from his 1960 story Vulcan's Hammer:
On the chest of drawers something was perched. Something that gleamed, shiny metal, gleamed and clicked as it turned toward her. She saw into two glassy mechanical lenses, something with a tubelike body, the size of a child's bat, shot upward and swept toward her.
This project sounds very similar to AeroVironment's Stealthy, Persistent Perch and Stare UAVs
From the Perching Project whitepaper (pdf) via News AU; thanks to an anonymous tipster (*Fortigurn) for this story.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/1/2010)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.' - Philip K. Dick, 1956.
Chinese Face Recognition Mistakes Bus Ad For Jaywalker
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.' - Schachner and Zagat, 1931.
China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
'Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh.' - Jack Vance, 1976.
Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.' - Cory Doctorow, 2008.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?
Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'
Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'
Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.
Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'
Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.
Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?
Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'
WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'
Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'
Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'
Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...
Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'
GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.
Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.
MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories