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Design Your Own Custom Drone

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A custom-made four-rotor "bunnycopter" features propellers at different heights.

A new system developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technoloyg Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory is the first to allow users to design, simulate, and build their own custom drones.

Credit: Jason Dorfman/MIT CSAIL

Massachusetts of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a way for consumers to design and develop drones to meet their unique specifications.

The system, from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, lets users design, simulate, and build custom drones, altering their size, shape, and structure depending on how they want their drone to function. "For example, adding more rotors generally lets you carry more weight, but you also need to think about how to balance the drone to make sure it doesn't tip," says MIT postdoctoral student Tao Du.

The system navigates the delicate balance between a drone's shape and structure and its ability to move, enabling users to design drones with different rotors, propellers, and rods, and guaranteeing the end-result will work. Users can choose from a database of parts and specify their needs for payload, cost, and battery usage. The system then computes the size and shape of the design elements and assesses metrics such as torque and thrust to determine whether the design will successfully take off, hover, and land.

"This system opens up new possibilities for how drones look and function," says MIT professor Wojciech Matusik. "It's no longer a one-size-fits-all approach for people who want to make and use drones for particular purposes."

From MIT News
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