Nathan Roberts, Hannah Sloane, Jolie Nichols and Anton Summerfield
How did the team meet?
We all knew each other from uni or school. I (Nathan) approached Anton the week leading up to the event to see if he was interested and he jumped on without a second thought. Hannah joined up at the brewery and Jolie joined the Saturday morning.
What did you build at Hackagong?
We designed and built using 3D printing a concept QUAD – Quadcopter Unified Aerofoil Design. The design fused the features of a quadcopter and a fixed wing aircraft.
Why that idea and how did it come to you?
Quadcopters are very popular among professions and hobbyists alike due to their availability and flexibility. The biggest issue regarding the vast majority of users is its flight time. With the Hackagong event fast approaching and no solid ideas we were keen to come up with something innovative and ambitious. Over a coffee by the beach we were captivated by the seagull’s ability to harass people trying to enjoy hot chips with such little effort in flight. It was just the inspiration we needed. Why not give the quadcopter wings!
How was your weekend experience at Hackagong and/or Demo Day?
Exceptional! What a way to spend the weekend, 30 hours of non-stop action! Having the opportunity to turn an idea into reality. Enthusiasm and passion was in the air with teams devoting themselves to projects that they came up with, that they were interested in, that they were skilled at. The venue at UOW was fantastic with plenty of space for teams to set up gear have a stretch and see what others were working on and plenty of bean bags for those needing a power nap. The Sunday where judges came around and the demo day was great in regards for teams to have an opportunity to pitch ideas and get feedback. Good experience.
What’s next for your product development?
Putting together a working model. To achieve this further calculations and considerations are required in the design. Pooling available resources, getting sponsors or people with suitable equipment together who are interested would accelerate the process significantly. Prototype aerofoil and quadcopter base structures may be produced using our 3D printer (that we won) with design iterations based on FEA, CFD, battery and flight data analysis.
What’s the grand future vision for what it could become?
To provide a platform to various users such as for high speed communications, real time monitoring of an area for disaster relief, search and rescue, farmers, wildlife surveys, police surveillance, weather and environmental monitoring and study. By incorporating sophisticated software into flight patterns and image analysis the uses are endless. Furthermore as 3D printing and material technologies improve the incorporation of conductive inks and polymers, solar cells, energy storage and artificial muscles will pave the way for a superior platform for professionals and everyday users.
Are you looking for people to help? If so, who/what do you need?
Anyone may help contribute to advancing QUAD from programmers, computer scientist and engineers to people interested in just wanting to have fun and fly around with a quadcopter. Key areas will be sensory input, and utilising control theory to help control flight. If people own a quadcopter or have components they wish to incorporate into the frame then that would be of great help. Anyone interested are valuable.