Drones are incredibly useful machines in the air, but getting them up and flying can be tricky, especially in crowded, windy, or emergency scenarios when speed is a factor. But a group of researchers from Caltech university and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have come up with an elegant and oh-so-fun solution: fire the damn thing out of a cannon.
The engineers’ creation is called SQUID, short for Streamlined Quick Unfolding Investigation Drone, and it looks rather like one of those whistling Nerf balls. It’s under a foot long (27 centimeters), weighs 18 ounces (530 grams), and has four spring-loaded rotor arms that snap into place in less than a tenth of a second after the drone is launched.
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