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This British UAV is a 3D Printing, Bomb Disposing Workaholic

| 13 May 2014 14:59

The little quadcopter that could uses polyurethane foam to 3D-print from the skies.

The Imperial College in London thinks your average quadcopter drone is pretty boring, so they slapped a 3D printer onto theirs.

The Micro Aerial Vehicle, or MAV for short, looks like a run of the mill drone. It's small, does all the flying and hovering any drone can do, and it's made from off-the-shelf components, making its production and repair relatively cheap.

But the assembly and nozzle on the underside is what makes the MAV so special. Once its two separated chemicals are combined, the MAV's dispenser produces polyurethane foam, which can be used in structure repair scenarios. This drone won't be 3D-printing gun parts or cutlery anytime soon -- it's really meant for repair missions in otherwise hard-to-access areas.

Additionally, this polyurethane foam is very sticky, which makes the MAV a prime candidate for waste/bomb disposal. The MAV can coat an object in foam (see the video above), and then another more powerful drone can swoop in, adhere to the threat, and fly it...well, wherever one flies a bomb or can of toxic waste, I suppose.

This is all still prototype talk, but the College is actively working on getting the MAV out of the lab, and into a real-world testing environment.

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