RT1

Introduction

RT1 is a novel solution that turns quadrocopter into an air suction machine. It is the only flying solution by now and the only one that can be truly efficient.

It began as an idea of a high-tech solution for fighting mosquitoes and other insects without even making harm to them. However it appeared to have more applications than that. We start with describing main principle of operation and than list possible applications.

Principle Of Operation

Main idea is to drive air suction by quadrocopter propellers. This allows to reuse existing parts and avoid additional increase of weight and electrical power consumption.

This is achieved by iris mechanism that pressurizes propeller capsules when suction is activated. All four capsules are connected to main suction tube by pipes. When capsules are sealed on top, main tube starts to suck air. When capsules are sealed on bottom, main tube starts to blow air, i.e. eject sucked objects. In both cases quadrocopter starts to loose thrust and fall down when capsules are sealed. That's why suction is activated by series of short impulses, which allows to compensate lost altitude. It's also possible to keep iris half open to achieve both suction and steady position.

Video below demonstrates suction & ejection work cycles.

Design goal was to minimize number of parts and make final solution both lightweight and robust. It allows to minimize production cost and maximize battery life at the same time. All of the parts are fully specified with drawings and ready for production. Part drawing example is available in Appendix.

Modules

RT1 consists of few unique modules, each having value by itself. Combined they form a perfect union that allows to achieve unprecedented results. Some of these modules have pending patents.

Integrated Suction Mechanism

The key feature of RT1 is it's novel suction mechanism integrated with existing propellers. It uses Iris Mechanism to seal the capsules. It allows to implement suction almost with no weight or power consumption overhead.

Proboscis

Proboscis, also known as "main tube", is the entrance for sucked air and objects. But it is not a simple tube. It has few important parts: the filter and the gateway. Filter blocks objects and accumulates them inside the proboscis trunk. Gateway is made from electroactive polymers. When suction is activated, gateway is opened by stimulating it with electricity which makes it radially stretch. It closes when electrical stimulation stops.

There is more advanced version of Proboscis in development. It will have the ability to deform and reach objects like a trunk of an elephant.

Two-sense Navigation System

RT1 has a pair of cameras and a pair of microphones which implement two sense navigation system: vision and hearing. Having a pair of each sensor allows to operate in stereo mode for precise localization of objects in 3D space. There is also infrared structured light projector which helps cameras to "see" objects better by illuminating them with simple geometrical patterns.

This all allows RT1 to successfully navigate and localize objects even in the dark.

Autonomous Charging System

RT1 can automatically locate it's charging pad and charge itself when necessary. Charging pad has a sphere shaped socket which helps during drone nesting. Even if drone has a slight deviation in it's positioning spherical shape will help to center it properly. Black circles of different width serve as a landing mark and calibration target.

Pad is made from a fabric material and can be easily folded and relocated. It can be connected to electrical outlet or USB port for charging.

State-of-the-art Software

All of the systems mentioned above are driven by a dedicated software package that coordinates and controls them. At the heart of it are two subsystems: Computer Vision ans SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping). It is created by professional software engineers that have experience in successful world-class Computer Vision and Machine Learning projects.

Applications

We call RT1 a platform because it is not a single purpose product. It can be easily adapted to few different applications without making significant changes to it's architecture. Main applications are: Domestic Debugger, Industrial Debugger, Vacuum Cleaner. These are the applications that unleash full potential of RT1, revolutionizing corresponding industries.

Domestic Debugger

RT1 can autonomously detect, hunt down and trap mosquitoes and other annoying insects or bugs. It can do it at home, office or even in the countryside. Our objective was to not only make ecology friendly solution (no toxic insecticides involved) but also avoid killing. RT1 does not kill insects. Instead it relocates them to safe distance and ejects, leaving insects in the hands of nature selection.

We believe this is the ultimate high tech solution possible. All existing solutions not only kill the insects but also poison humans and nature.

Industrial Debugger

RT1 can fight pests at industrial level. It will operate based on the same principles as in the case of domestic debugging but industrial device will be more robust and larger.

It's undeniable advantage will be 100% environment friendliness: no pesticides, no more poisoning nature and human kind. It is like picking pests by hand but in a much more efficient high tech way.

Another advantage is dependency only on electrical power. Electricity can be produced by solar power plants right on a site of big agriculture plantations. This would make the solution entirely independant on external resources.

Vacuum Cleaner

Another logical application of RT1 is vacuum cleaning. It can make a serious competition to existing robot cleaners which are very popular these days. But unlike them it can reach to almost any surface within a room. It can even reach surfaces that are hardly reached by standard vacuum cleaner with human operator, e.g. furniture top.

It can carry any brush attachement, even few at the same time and change them dynamically depending on a surface type .

Other Applications

RT1 software and modules can be useful for other applications which are currently low priority but can be reconsidered in the future.

  • Outdoor cleaning drone (e.g. park leaves, skyscraper windows, street lights, monuments, etc)
  • Carrier for other tools (e.g. sprayer to paint surfaces that are hard to reach)
  • Patrol drone (with automatic detection of suspicious activity)

Production

Estimated manufacturing cost (prime cost) is $200-300 per domestic device and $600-800 per industrial level device. The cost can be later reduced to $100-200 and $400-500 respectively as a result of production optimization and large amount manufacturing discounts.

We have good partners in Ukraine who can help with manufacturing it here (partially) or in China.

Detailed manufacturing cost calculation is available by request.

Appendix

[1] Full assembly animation (link)
[2] Part drawing example (link)