Search results for: helicopter


Autonomous Helicopter Drones May Assist NASA’s Exploration Of Mars, Here’s How

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Mars HelicopterNASA’s rovers have provided a wealth of information about Mars over the years and continue to ramble on. Devices like Opportunity and Curiosity have been exploring the surface of the Red Planet for more than a decade now (Opportunity touched down 11 years ago yesterday), but for everything they’ve revealed to us, they’ve explored relatively little in the way of area. With potential manned missions to Mars ramping up, the space agency is looking to expand its efforts in this area, and to do so they’re considering taking to the sky.

The rugged surface and unforgiving terrain exact a hearty toll on the hardware on the ground and a hindrance to easy movement. To combat that, and provide a wider view, NASA is toying with the idea of autonomous drones to accompany future rovers. The Mars Helicopter could potentially be an addition to the future excursion, and could provide all kinds of useful functions.


Da Vinci Eat Your Heart Out: Canadian Duo Creates A Human-Powered Helicopter

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Aero VeloOver 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci imagined a human-powered aircraft. Even after the Wright Brothers’ groundbreaking invention, people still desire to fly, even if it means rigging themselves and taking an ill-advised jump off a cliff. Hence, the Sikorsky Prize—a $250,000 award given by the American Helicopter Society to a team who builds a human-powered aircraft that can fly or hover at a height of 3 meters (just under 10 feet) for at least a minute. Since the prize’s inception in 1980, no one has won — until now.

A Canadian team won the prize in this year’s competition with a successful 64-second flight. The two-person team, comprised of Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson, started working on their da Vinci-esque ornithopter back in 2006. Three years later, their 94-pound Snowbird plane with a 105-foot wingspan was ready to test. That model involved a foot-powered bar that flapped the craft’s wings as the user sat in the cockpit. Test flight after test flight failed, but the engineers learned more and more with every crash. In 2010, Snowbird stayed aloft for over 19 seconds and flew about 475 feet. That success, which the two believe to be a world record for this type of aircraft, gave them the confidence to begin the endeavor that eventually took home the first Sikorsky Prize.


RC Helicopter Enthusiast Dies In Tragic Accident

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roman pirozek

This is one of those times when we here at Giant Freakin’ Robot are not at all glad to be reporting news, but we’re quite invested in making sure the story we’re reporting on remains an exception, and not the rule. This past Thursday, 19-year-old Queens, New York resident Roman Pirozek was killed during a freak accident involving the remote-controlled helicopter he was operating at the time. While perhaps not as dangerous as drones and their ilk, this is an obvious cautionary tale for hobbyists who may not recognize how dangerous these “toys” can be.

In a Brooklyn park popular among model helicopter enthusiasts, Pirozek was out with his father, doing what he normally did, when his $2,000 RC copter struck him, actually “cutting off the top of his head” according to the law enforcement official handling the case. Three or four other people were in the area when the accident happened, and he was pronounced dead on the scene.


Godzilla Set Video Jumps Out Of A Helicopter

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At this point, filming for director Gareth Edward’s Godzilla franchise reboot is well under way in Vancouver, B.C. While there’s sure to be a glut of giant monster action in the film, there’s going to be a ton of military action as well. This new video from the Canadian set gives you a look at the human side of the coin.

The video shows a group of stunt performers, dressed as military personnel, rappelling from a helicopter hovering over Vancouver’s Golden Ears Park, which is a brilliant name for a park.

There’s already been behind-the-scenes footage of a train carrying large missiles for the production. Apparently the train crashes, and this is part of the military effort to recover the lost nuclear weapons from the wreckage, which you can see scattered about on the ground below the soldiers. You don’t want to just leave weapons like that lying around where anyone can stumble across them.


Remote-Controlled Cars In Awe of Brain-Powered Toy Helicopters

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At virtually no point in my life was I ever into R.C. vehicles of any kind. I had a few when I was younger, but they usually came as cheap presents from non-immediate relatives for Christmas or a birthday. The “cheap” part isn’t a knock, because they were all cheap then. At that point, nobody could predict the onslaught of remote-controlled spherically covered crash-protected helicopters hitting toy shelves, least of all ones that could be flown using cell phone apps.

And now the company Puzzlebox has gone and made toys all brainy. Admittedly, their Orbit helicopter products have been used for educational use for the last two years, but thanks to excellent feedback and a highly successful Kickstarter fund, the company is looking to bring the toys to store shelves and online vendors. Their interest isn’t just making a quick buck, however; they want you to learn how the toy works.

Here is the longest explanation I will ever use to describe “playing.” The NeuroSky MindWave Mobile EEG headset detects levels of attention and meditation by measuring brainwaves. This data is sent via Bluetooth to either a smartphone/tablet, or to the Puzzlebot Pyramid, a dedicated home base with micro-controller, via USB. According to how the owner has programmed the device, his or her brainwaves will guide the helicopter around the room. Stimulated excitement means a rise is movement and height, while dismissive boredom may slow the toy down and cause it to descend. It has an eight-minute battery life that works on a 30-minute charge.


Human-Powered Helicopter Breaks Flight Records

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In 1980, the American Helicopter Society (AHS)  have offered the Sikorsky Prize, a reward for $250,000 for the first human-powered helicopter. The prize requirements are a 60-second flight, with an altitude that must reach at least three meters at some point during the 60-second flight. And to this date, it has yet to be claimed by any one.

The Gamera Team of the Clark School of Engineering of Maryland is looking to break the record and claim the prize for themselves. The previous team record was 11.4 seconds of human-powered flight by the Gamera I. The Gamera I team’s human-powered helicopter is equipped with enhanced rotor design, a redesigned cockpit, an improved transmission with less weight. Last week, Gamera II broke that with a dominating 50 seconds of human-powered flight with PhD candidate Kyle Glusenkamp. Here’s their attempt…

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