Indoor airship sails through the air using ultrasonic transducers

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Quadcopter type drones can be stolen indoors, but unless you have a lot of space, it usually ends in an accident. The prospect of being punched in the face by the propeller blades spinning at 10,000 rpm can’t bear to think about it, and then there’s the noise. So, as a solution for indoor photography, or working in public spaces, they are not viable. Japanese mobile operator DOCOMO has a new take on an old idea; the airship. But, surely even a helium-filled vehicle needs blades to move around the room, do we hear each other cry? This is not the case, if you use a pair of specialized ultrasonic transducer arrays to move the air instead! (Video, embedded below)

Three rows of thrusters provide net force that can be rotated 180 degrees

Details are scarce, but DOCOMO has outfitted a helium balloon with modules on each side that can produce steerable thrust, allowing the vehicle to perform all expected aerial maneuvers with ease and grace. The module at the bottom contains the control electronics, an upward-facing RGB LED for extra bling, and of course a video camera to capture those all-important video shots.

We would like to find a source for these ultrasonic transducers and can only guess at the physical arrangement that allows air to pass in only one direction, to effect a clean thrust. We can find a few research papers hinting at the ability to use ultrasound to propel itself through the air, like this one (bah! IEEExplore Paywall!) But to our knowledge, this technology is not yet complete. made in the hands of pirates.

Airships are not uncommon on these beautiful pages, here is a Blimpduino, a 3D printed airship controlled by Arduino, an illuminated airship art installation by the Japanese artist [Kensho Miyoshi] and if using helium is just too safe for you (or if you want to help prevent this supposedly precious resource from being lost in space), you can simply build a remote controlled airship using hydrogen at the square. Don’t light a match.

Thank you [Itay] for the tip!

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