Saturday, July 29, 2006

Helicopter Project Introduction

The helicopter should be able to carry a small video camera. Video from the camera should be transmitted wirelessly to a ground operator and commands from the operator should be transmitted wirelessly to the helicopter.

A traditional RC helicopter has certain drawbacks I'd like to avoid: difficult control, high vibration, and dangerous rotors. A possible solution is to use multiple smaller rotors.

For my first prototype, I'm going to try two propellers (10" to 13" in diameter) and four helium weather balloons (each about 2'6" in diameter). The balloons will provide stability and protect the camera and propellers; they won't provide much lift. The propellers will be attached to 20-amp brushless motors with gearboxes, powered by LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries.

If the balloons turn out to be too much trouble, I may ditch them. I may also need to add more props.

I've ordered and received most of the components for the first prototype. Soon I'll post a parts list.

This project is partially funded by a grant from the MIT Council for the Arts.

Next step: testing the components and measuring the lift provided by the props.


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