Drones

Flying Drone Blanket will charge and launch swarms of quadcopters

Flying Drone Blanket will char...
The system-specific quadcopters will feature a multi-color LED panel on their underside
The system-specific quadcopters will feature a multi-color LED panel on their underside
View 6 Images
An overhead view of the Flying Drone Blanket
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An overhead view of the Flying Drone Blanket
The drones' movements are coordinated utilizing the existing Drone Show Software system
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The drones' movements are coordinated utilizing the existing Drone Show Software system
Each aircraft disengages from its receptacle by executing a 45-degree twist as it takes off
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Each aircraft disengages from its receptacle by executing a 45-degree twist as it takes off
Multiple blankets can in turn be linked together, potentially allowing up to 10,000 drones to all be charged and launched at once
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Multiple blankets can in turn be linked together, potentially allowing up to 10,000 drones to all be charged and launched at once
Each blanket will take the form of a flat sheet that is folded up and carried in a case, then pulled out, unfolded and laid flat on the ground
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Each blanket will take the form of a flat sheet that is folded up and carried in a case, then pulled out, unfolded and laid flat on the ground
The system-specific quadcopters will feature a multi-color LED panel on their underside
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The system-specific quadcopters will feature a multi-color LED panel on their underside
View gallery - 6 images

Although it's getting increasingly common to see swarms of illuminated drones being used for aerial light shows, simultaneously charging and launching all of those aircraft can still be tricky. That's where the Flying Drone Blanket is intended to come in.

The "blanket" is being developed by Italian design firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) in collaboration with drone tech firm Flyfire, the latter of which began life as a project spearheaded by the CRA-affiliated MIT SENSEable City Lab.

Each blanket will take the form of a sheet that is folded up and carried in a case, then pulled out, unfolded and laid flat on the ground. Up to 16 system-specific quadcopter drones can subsequently be mounted in the blanket's square receptacles, all of the copters simultaneously charging their batteries from a linked power source.

An overhead view of the Flying Drone Blanket
An overhead view of the Flying Drone Blanket

Multiple blankets can in turn be linked together, potentially allowing up to 10,000 drones to all be charged and launched at once. Each aircraft disengages from its receptacle by executing a 45-degree twist as it takes off. A twist in the opposite direction re-engages it when it lands for recharging.

The drones themselves feature a sleek design that incorporates an "ultra-bright" multi-color LED panel on the underside. Their movements are coordinated utilizing the existing Drone Show Software system. That being said, the Flying Drone Blanket could be used for more than just light shows.

"With this project, we imagine a near future where drone swarms can be used for multiple purposes – from light shows to mapping buildings with 3D scanning to sensing air and water quality – in a scenario that we might describe as an 'Internet of Flying Objects,'" says CRA founder Carlo Ratti.

Source: Carlo Ratti Associati

View gallery - 6 images
1 comment
1 comment
Techrex
Is this blanket an electric solar power thing? If so, could it be QUICKLY charged up with electricity by ground-based laser or light projectors? Or some kind of microwave projector? And, if these flying drones can grab and hold onto a big blanket like this, could they do the same thing with a large net made of strong parachute cords? If so, then could these coordinated drones lift up sizable payloads in the middle of that net, and fly away with them? That application of them could be helpful in disaster areas and rescue emergencies! And, another technical recommendation that I already sent all over the internet, could a flying drone recharge itself far out in the wilderness, by anchoring itself to a high tree top, and letting the strong winds up there, propel its flight rotors in the reverse direction, so that its (somewhat modified) electric motors, could act like electric power generators, to recharge its batteries?