Robotics company CyPhy Works has a new pocket-sized surveillance drone created for U.S.military personnel deployed throughout the world.
CyPhy Works was awarded a contract with the U.S. Air Force earlier this year to help improve search and rescue operations. Video of its functional prototype was recently uploaded to YouTube.
“We took [our robots] to special forces and IED guys, and they loved them, they wanted them, but the feedback that we also got was, ‘We’d like to carry it more easily.’ It fits into a backpack, and that’s great, but what are you going to leave out of the backpack?” CEO Helen Greiner told the technology website IEEE Spectrum Oct. 23. “They need all this stuff. The Pocket Flyer fits in a cargo pants pocket. The best robot is the one you have with you. And that’s exactly what this robot will be; it’ll be the one you have with you when you get to that dangerous situation.”
The pocket-drone is able to stay in the air for up to two hours due to a tiny microfilament that tethers it to a power source, the website reported. Without the connection, it would fly for 10 to 20 minutes.
“That’s about enough time to go into a building and find a person, and then ‘Oh, our robot went dead.’ The microfilament, in contrast, provides a constant source of power to your robot, so you can fly any drone that uses the system until your base station (which doesn’t have to move) runs out of power. If you’re plugged into the grid, these robots could stay aloft for days,” Ms. Greiner told IEEE Spectrum.
An added benefit of having the drone connected to its user at all times is that it is not a susceptible to being hacked as a wireless device, the website reported.
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