Created by a Boeing-assisted team at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, it was a gliding prototype that would require the addition of a motor and an external propeller for powered flight. Its recently-announced successor, however, features integrated electric ducted fan motors.
As with its predecessor, the modular components of the new blended-wing UAV were made largely via Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). This is the type of 3D printing in which successive layers of molten plastic are extruded one on top of another, to build up complete objects.
Although the aircraft consists of separate modules that are bolted together, the central body - which houses the fan motors and incorporates “complex internal features” - was printed as a single ABS plastic part. The motors and electronics themselves were added afterwards.
While some other components were made from carbon fiber this time around (it presumably now takes a little longer than 24 hours to build), those parts were still made using 3D-printed molds. As an added economical bonus, those molds were double-sided, allowing one piece of plastic to be used to create two parts. One of those carbon parts is a moveable “duck tail,” which facilitates improved pitch control by channeling the air as it comes out of the ducts.
The finished UAV weighs 3.5 kg (7.7 lb), puts out 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) of combined thrust, cruises via remote control at nearly 72 km/h (45 mph), and is launched using a custom-made catapult. It can be seen in flight in the video below.
Plans call for the next version to have a twice-as-wide 3-meter (9.8-ft) wingspan and miniature gas turbine engines. It may also incorporate unique flight control surfaces, and carbon composite batteries that are part of its structure.
Matchstick is a small, WiFi-connected HDMI stick that plugs into your HDTV or HD Monitor that lets you stream and interact with your favorite stuff from the Internet - movies, TV, music, games, and more! You can even use it in a conference room to get presentations or other media from your laptop to an HDTV.
We approached the Matchstick project with the mindset to to build a completely OPEN hardware and software platform, so we moved forward with Mozilla to create the first streaming stick built and certified for Firefox OS. Matchstick is a entirely new product category for Mozilla, and we can’t wait to bring it to you!
Why Firefox OS?
It makes perfect sense for today’s blurred lines of online content including video, music, gaming, and all the other stuff we click “play" on. An open and adaptable operating system like Firefox means less cost in production, smaller installs, and more personalized apps… Without the need for app approval or oversight. How cool is that?
Working with Mozilla has been exciting and their amazing support has allowed us to make it this far! Our goal was to make a streaming stick that was low cost, high design, and extremely adaptable without the walled garden for app developers that tends to slow progress. We also approached the hardware as a break even, open reference design, creating an app ecosystem where the app developers drive the economy. It’s what Chromecast WANTED to be… =)
Movies, TV, music, games…
But we know what you care about… CONTENT. The number one thing your HDMI stick needs to do is let you get your favorite stuff from the Internet to your big screen. You want to know your favorite movies, TV shows, music, and games will be available. We got this!
Matchstick is being built around a community that loves video and the Internet, so not only do you get great content from the apps the Matchstick team is building into the product, but you also benefit from the cool stuff being built by the Mozilla and Matchstick developer communities.
With no limitations, rules, or boundaries, app developers can explore their creativity to bring mainstream content to places never accessible before as well as unexpected, creative apps and personalized viewing and interactive experiences that just aren’t available in closed systems. Matchstick allows for cool, crazy stuff that no one else could deliver.
There are already hundreds of apps in the Mozilla app store, and as the developer program ramps up many of those apps and hundreds of new apps will become available on the Matchstick app store.
At launch, the Matchstick team will deliver a core set of content for Matchstick that will let you find the most popular movies, TV, and music. Apps like Netflix, HBO Go, Pandora, and others ensure great content right out of the box! And as our developer community grows, new apps will become available, giving users access to a constant flow of new content and experiences for Matchstick…
Nixie is a camera-equipped quadcopter designed to follow the user around taking pictures and videos on command, while conveniently wrapping around the wrist to form a bracelet when not in use.
The selfie is officially an international phenomenon. With some companies boasting about how their smartphones pack “perfect for selfie” front-facing shooters, and others going as far as releasing bizarre cameras designed specifically for the purpose – whether you like it or not, it’s here to stay.
Enter Nixie, the tiny quadcopter that aims to evolve the concept by taking the camera out of your hands and into the air. The idea is fairly straightforward – take a tiny drone, fit it with a swiveling camera and have it follow the user around capturing photos or video. In that way, it’s quite similar to the proposed MeCam drone. What makes it more interesting (and a little whacky) is the ability to fold the quadcopter’s limbs to turn into a wearable bracelet.
At present, Nixie is still a concept, with the company yet to produce a fully working version (you can see it in prototype form above). The product is one of 10 finalists in Intel’s Make it Wearable (MIW) challenge, the winner of which will receive US$500,000 to help turn their concept into a reality.
If it comes to fruition, then the final product will pair with a smartphone app, taking off on command, hovering a little way away to put the user in the frame before snapping a photo or video. Flight will be fully automatic, without the need for manual input, and the drone will return to the user when finished.
With the Nixie drone still being a concept, details such as battery life and specs are yet to be confirmed, but we do know that users will be able to switch it into a specific mode for selfies, panoramas or continuous movies.
Sketchfab is fully mobile ready. If you check Sketchfab on a mobile device, you’ll see our interface has been designed for it. And the good news is that with the release of iOS8with WebGl support yesterday, it even works on your iPhone or iPad!