Drones

Nano Tornado drone swaps props for ducted fans

Nano Tornado drone swaps props...
A rendering of the Nano Tornado drone – a 3D-printed flying prototype does already exist
A rendering of the Nano Tornado drone – a 3D-printed flying prototype does already exist
View 2 Images
The Nano Tornado's designed so that it won't cut people if it runs into them, plus it won't be damaged if it bumps into things or makes rough landings
1/2
The Nano Tornado's designed so that it won't cut people if it runs into them, plus it won't be damaged if it bumps into things or makes rough landings
A rendering of the Nano Tornado drone – a 3D-printed flying prototype does already exist
2/2
A rendering of the Nano Tornado drone – a 3D-printed flying prototype does already exist

Although personal drones are becoming increasingly popular, a lot of people are still understandably intimidated by their exposed propellers. Not only can those whirling blades hurt people, but they also regularly get damaged in crashes. That's why Pasadena, California-based Polyhelo created the Nano Tornado. It's a quadcopter, but instead of open props it utilizes four ducted fans.

According to the former Caltech researchers who founded Polyhelo, there are several advantages to the Nano Tornado's unique design.

First and foremost, it won't cut people if it runs into them, plus it won't be damaged if it bumps into things or makes rough landings (within reason, of course). This means that it could be used in applications considered too risky for regular drones, such as flying near branches or in narrow spaces.

The Nano Tornado's designed so that it won't cut people if it runs into them, plus it won't be damaged if it bumps into things or makes rough landings
The Nano Tornado's designed so that it won't cut people if it runs into them, plus it won't be damaged if it bumps into things or makes rough landings

Because it has no arms or propellers sticking out, it can also easily be tossed in a bag for transport. Additionally, if there isn't a good take-off/landing spot nearby, it can stabilize itself after being thrown into the air (like the Lily drone) plus it can be safely landed on a person's outstretched hand.

Flight time is only about five minutes, although the battery can be swapped with a fully-charged extra on the spot.

The Polyhelo team is currently raising production funds for the Nano Tornado, on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$448 will get you one with a Polaroid Cube actioncam – to record footage for subsequent viewing – assuming all goes according to plan. If you want to view the video as it's being shot, an FPV package with a FatShark camera, transmitter/receiver and screen can be had for $548.

The Nano Tornado prototype can be seen in action, in the video below.

Source: Indiegogo


6025

8 comments
asdf
The trouble with ducted fans is efficiency, its not particularly great. But it has upsides as mentioned :)
Derek Howe
lol, the guy in the video is funny, the no look hand catch @ 2:04 was great. lol
stimpy77
Cool but LOUD!!
Robt
It's the wrong answer. Shrouded rotors or props lose almost no propulsive efficiency over open blades, and provide 99% of the safety of a ducted fan. In addition, the shroud reduces noise from the blade tips ( see: Airbus Helicopters 'fenestron' tail rotors)
BG59
Nice but, 1. Fly time is way too short. 2. Cost is way too much.
Elie
They're called cowlings
ChrisLeavitt
5 minutes of flight time isn't enough for me to get bored of flying it for the sake of flying, let alone time enough to capture adequate aerial video clips in most circumstances I'd like to do so. How many batteries must one be expected to carry around and keep charged? 8? 10? Polyhelo is going in a good direction, but still has some progress to make.
ezeflyer
If scaled up to fly a pilot, perhaps shrouded propellers would give a longer range and efficiency.