Flying robots: The new amazing Dragon from Japan

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Flying robots: The new amazing Dragon from Japan

Lately there has been a lot of buzz about aerial robots, especially for indoor use. But the drones have to go through doors to get inside, and there are many obstacles to flying robots, such as walls, windows, furniture, hanging plants, lampshades and more doors, not to mention human occupants of the room.

One solution would be very small robots that can fit through openings without running into anything. But small flying robots abilities are limited.
At JSK Lab at the University of Tokyo, roboticists have developed a drone called DRAGON, (Dual-rotor embedded multilink Robot with the Ability of multi-deGree-of-freedom aerial transformatiON). It’s a modular flying robot powered by ducted fans that can transform literally on the fly, from a square to a snake to anything in between, allowing it to stretch out to pass through small holes and then make whatever other shape needed, once it’s on the other side.

DRAGON is made of a series of linked modules, each of which consists of a pair of ducted fan thrusters that can be actuated in roll and pitch to vector thrust in just about any direction needed. The modules are connected to one another with a powered hinged joint, and the whole robot is driven by an Intel Euclid and powered by a battery pack currently providing 3 minutes of flight time. The prototype that was presented at ICRA is made up of four modules.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: JSK Lab at the University of Tokyo

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