The new Pocket Flyer Drone by CyPhy Works is like a big dragonfly. It fits in your pocket and weighs only 80 grams (less than .2 pound). More than that it can fly inside of rubble and bunkers and tunnels with continuous communication, send back high definition video, and fly indefinitely (with power or battery changes to the base station). Wow!
The robot’s secret is the advanced microfilament tether. It’s remarkable because it unspools from the robot, and not from the base station. The drone carries a spool of 250 feet of wire which feeds out as it needs it. If the filament snags or breaks, the Pocket Flyer can use battery power to fly back to its origin.
CyPhy Works in Massachusetts builds flying robots that can fly into dangerous zones or buildings that are difficult to reach or hazardous for human crews. Military contracts will fund the development and testing of the “extreme access” Pocket Flyer for emergency response teams to assist in search and rescue. It can also be used in surveillance operations and locating bombs in tunnels and pipes. This will be a huge support for soldiers who can carry them in their cargo pants pocket. Go to IEEE Spectrum for more info . . .
Here is video of the Pocket Flyer in action – you can just barely see the microfilament tether unspooling:
Image: CyPhy Works