Jul 4, 2014

Fully functional AirDog drone prototype developed with 3d printing

AirDog is innovative quadcopter drone that will follow you automatically and record video of your activity guided with electronic bracelet "leash" or smartphone app. The fully functional prototype is 3d printed in ULTEM 9085 production grade thermoplastics.

Currently it has several flight patterns that can be expanded in future:
  1. Auto-follow. Will work with almost any sports. In this mode AirDog will follow you repeating exactly your movement trajectory while maintaining its position in preset distance and altitude from you. It will follow you at speeds up to 40 mph.
  2. Relative position follow. In this mode AirDog will maintain constant offset relative to magnetic north from the rider. For example, you can set it to keep a 10 meter distance at 4 meters high to the east from your position. Even when you change your direction, the AirDog will stay at the same preset angle from you. We suggest this mode for straight line wakeboard cable parks, surfing, and some other sports.
  3. Follow track. This is the safest way to operate AirDog. Simply go for one lap with AirLeash and it will record your track. Then adjust AirDogs trajectory to your liking in smartphone app. AirDog will repeatedly fly over the exact set trajectory and the camera will be continually adjusted to aim at the rider.This is the most creative mode where you can become a true director of your movie. Adjust AirDog's trajectory to avoid obstacles like buildings or trees. You can even make it to shoot you from different angle on different spots/kickers in the track. It might sound complicated, but its a simple few tap process in AirDog smartphone app.
  4. Hover and Aim. The Hover and Aim setting allows AirDog to stay in one position above the ground, but constantly directing the camera at the AirLeash. This setting is perfect for tight places such as smaller skateparks, narrow forest trails, or for activities such as bungee jumping or base jumping, where clearance from equipment is important.
  5. Circle. In this setting, AirDog makes circular rotations on a set radius and altitude, keeping the camera aimed at the AirLeash. This for slow speed or static shots to show impressive view around you.
  6. Look down. The most simple mode but can produce very stunning results. Simply "walk" your AirDog above a ramp or kicker where you are about to throw some epic tricks and with push of a button it will freeze its position and aim camera straight down. Now make sure you don't go too high.
  7. When it goes into production it will be produced with injection molding and it is clearly indicated on the timeline.

It was developed with Stratasys:

From Stratasys blog post:
The working prototype, currently flying in demonstrations over the United States, was produced using 3D printing technologies from Stratasys, with guidance from Stratasys’ Latvian partner, Baltic3D, and Polish reseller Bibus Menos.
“As the world’s first auto-follow action sports drone, AirDog not only grants end-users their own affordable and personal aerial video crew, but goes one step further in providing thrilling footage from distances and angles previously inaccessible to such consumers,” explained Edgars Rozentals, Co-founder and CEO of Helico Aerospace Industries.
A production-grade thermoplastic (ULTEM 9085), popular in the aerospace industry for its high strength-to-weight ratio, was used to create the AirDog quadcopter. “We were particularly impressed by how far we could push the boundaries of the ULTEM material,” said Rozentals. “The material’s functional stability enabled us to 3D print very thin walls that further reduced AirDog’s overall weight.
For the AirLeash, Helico chose to use rubber-like as well as rigid materials in a single prototype, relying on Stratasys’ PolyJet 3D printing technology, which allows for the incorporation of multiple materials in a single go.
“I’m not sure how we would have arrived at the stage of having a functional part, were it not for Stratasys 3D printing technology. I founded the company two years ago and we’re a staff of three, so for start-ups like Helico, this technology isn’t just a game-changer, but the ticket to the game itself,” ventured Rozentals.

AirDog Kickstarter:


Source blog post from Stratasys: