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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Nano Origami Drone: The Economical Spy Paper Plane

If you remember the gorgeous, chocolate cake-like Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai being stormed, first, by terrorists and then by commandos flushing out those cowardly creeps; then someone else was also affected by that sight.
B. Madhan Kumar watched the news on that day and felt for the commandos going in blindly because “no one knew what was happening inside. So, after that, I wanted to make a simple spying device which makes defence operations easier and at the same time, it must be economically efficient to adopt”, he told Networked India.
He seems to have figured out how to do that. An M.E degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Madras Institute of Technology has also certainly been put to good use, because he has mixed some really nifty high-level science and kindergarten level craft, to come up with a paper plane, that’s more than a toy that we played with as kids.
His paper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is actually a drone that can be used to defend a country! He said, “My innovation is Nano Origami Drones that can be used for surveillance by the defence department. It is a simple paper plane with in-built nano avionics system. It also includes a camera with wireless transmission.”
“This is the only origami (paper built) flying surveillance system that can be used for indoor and outdoor surveillance.It is a soldiers’ gadget and can be used only once, as it only made out of paper. It reduces the stress of getting back a drone in the middle of a war.”
He has managed to make this drone for an unbelievably cheap Rs 1,000 and has applied for a patent. He explained, “I have chosen ordinary paper as material and on analysis, it has proven that a simple 80 Grams per Square Metre (GSM) paper resembles having the properties of aluminium.”
From my childhood, I am good at making paper planes. I know the
efficiency of paper planes in the open air. I also got some prizes at national level contests for the ‘Best Paper Plane designed for the Highest Range and Endurance (flight time)’. It took almost two years to get the right weight which can be accomodated by a paper. Finally, I made it fly inside and outside along with a camera.”
In a research paper that Madhan has written on his UAV, he has stated that it requires a certain altitude to perform well. “The control surfaces are fully active at an altitude of 20 to 70 feet. This altitude gives enough time for the paper plane to stabilize itself.” So it is required that the UAV is “dropped at least from 20 feet.” For example: If a user wants to survey a building from indoors or outdoors, this plane has to be dropped from the top floor. Then “it is very efficient and controllable.”
He has done this project on his own because people have laughed off his endeavour and told him “don’t do any dream as your project.” But he has persevered because he says, “I know the power of my motors and the efficiency of paper. Whenever someone says. “It is not at all possible to fly this thing”, I take those words as fuel, and do more, to make it fly. And ofcourse I got moral support from my department head, Dr V.K. Shanmuganathan and a DRDO scientist, Rajesh. They were able to visualise my thoughts and always inspired me to keep going with my project.”
He has amply justified these people’s faith in him. He was awarded the ‘Dr Walter Kohn Award for Innovation’ in 2014 by Satyabama University and is the first person to receive it for an aerial project. This has spurred him on to doing even more with his paper plane UAV. He has now even developed a vertical takeoff and landing system too.
Now all that is required is, for these paper plane drones to take off, with the right people in the right places.

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