Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Flexible drone. Unsplash

Researchers at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Hyderabad have unveiled a working prototype of a flexible drone that changes its shape to fit the size of the package to be lifted. Suraj Bonagiri, a researcher from the Robotics Research Centre in his research on the mechanism behind a reconfigurable quadcopter, highlighted limitations of existing delivery drones and proposed a novel design.

“Current design of such drones focuses 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,” said the 24-year-old robotics researcher.


Follow NewsGram on Twitter to stay updated about the World news.

According to him, since drones are typically designed to carry specific payloads, forcibly fitting and lifting inappropriate payloads will lead to instability, loss inefficiency, and even compromise on safety. Unlike other rigid drones, Suraj’s patent-pending design which he calls ‘Elasticopter’ is a dynamic one. Thanks to a flexible chassis and a novel mechanism that expands or collapses, it can grip and match the shape of the parcel to be lifted.

With this method of attachment to cargo, the mass is always centered and results in optimal battery performance. It also ranks high on the stability front due to the unique positioning of the propellers. Explaining how typically airflow from propellers hits the payload causing turbulence mid-air, Suraj pointed out that in this design, there is zero prop wash interference with the payload no matter its size.


Current design of such drones focuses only on the weight. Pixabay

Under the guidance of Professors Spandan Roy and Madhava Krishna, Suraj set out to validate the superiority of his design via a series of simulations comparing current drones with the Elasticopter. “We found that in existing drones, even if they can lift and deliver packages of varying shapes, the battery life and flight time is short-lived because it’s not done in an optimal manner. And this is especially evident when there are large-scale delivery operations,” he says.

For Suraj who began his research journey into the world of drones first as an intern at RRC and then as an MS student, IIITH seemed a perfect choice. “I’ve always wanted to start up. And the reason I chose to pursue my Masters’s here is that the campus not only houses incubators but there’s the active commercialization of research through Product Labs. With appropriate advice from the professors here and access to the resources and tools, I had a rough idea of spinning my thesis into an entrepreneurial venture.”


Drones are typically designed to carry specific payloads. Pixabay

Professor Krishna corroborates Suraj’s passion by describing him as “an extraordinary and rare student who wanted to innovate at the level of a novel mechanism in flying vehicles.”

Creating A Product

Suraj approached Product Labs with his idea where he was guided to enroll in the Technology Product Entrepreneurship (TPE) course. “For us, this is a textbook case of taking research to the market. And also something that we’ve always wanted to see happen, that is, our students taking their research forward to build products leading to startups. It’s exciting to see some deep research taking shape,” says Prakash Yalla who heads Product Labs.

ALSO READ: IIT Hyderabad Develops 5V Dual Carbon Battery

Suraj extensively leveraged the Maker’s Lab and is now pre-incubated at Product Labs. The initial prototype he built won him a productization grant of Rs. 8 lakhs 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. “Materials movement is a key use case for this drone design,” says Ramesh Loganathan, Prof. Co-Innovation who heads Outreach at IIITH. According to him, it will be highly useful in warehouses, on manufacturing floors, e-commerce supply chain operations, medicine delivery, and such where there are packages of different sizes and frequent movement is needed.

While the Elasticopter scores over other delivery drones from minimal storage space it occupies, to the time taken to attach and detach itself to parcels, the researchers envision its relevance and applicability to other universal drone applications too. “I’d like to think of it as a multi-purpose drone. From a large agricultural spray tank for aerial spraying of fertilizers and pesticides to a megaphone for disseminating public information about the Covid-19 vaccination program or a lockdown situation, the sky is the limit in its application”, added Suraj. (IANS/SP)


Popular

IANS

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Brandon Romanchuk on Unsplash

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features.

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features. Alexa can now identify the sounds of running water and appliances beeping, reports Android Central. This means users can set up an Alexa routine to notify themselves when the washer beeps to indicate that laundry is finished, the report said.

When Alexa detects that the faucet has been left open, it will send users a notification as well so they can take appropriate action, it added. Amazon previously said at its event in September that it would add the ability to programme Alexa to recognise custom sounds, but that feature has yet to arrive. Having said that, the two new sound detection capabilities not only help users save energy, but they also make it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary charges on your home utilities, the report said.

The retail giant has also announced ultrasound motion detection, which will allow you to set up "Occupancy Routines" on additional Echo devices. This feature allows your smart speaker to detect nearby motion and initiate a routine, such as turning on the lights. It is compatible with many of the best Alexa speakers including the 4th-gen Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock. (IANS/ MBI)


Keep Reading Show less
Rawpixel

Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit.

By Olivia Sarkar
It's the holiday season, which means it's time to be merry! As the month of December approaches, we're all in a festive mindset. With Christmas just around the corner, there will be plenty of parties and get-togethers with friends and family.

Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit. The Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts offer distinctive cocktails ranging from Hot Toddies to Decadent Egg Nogs. Sit back and enjoy one martini at a time to make the festive season a little brighter.

Dirty Chai Eggnog:

Eggnog is a Christmas favorite that is accustomed to toasts for good health and prosperity. It is an American tradition that has spread around the world. Historically, it has been made using eggs, milk, and alcohol. Our culinary artists have given an Indian twist to this winter drink, making it quintessentially desi!



Recipe:

30 ml Bourbon
30 ml Baileys
90 ml Hot milk tea
Whole Spices
Sweet cream foam to top up

Garnish:
Cinnamon powder and star anise.

Keep reading... Show less