Sports Drone and 3D Printing
Extreme sports enthusiasts will never miss a flip, turn or jump again with the new AirDog and AirLeash products from Latvia-based Helico Aerospace Industries.
The AirDog is a programmable “quadcopter” drone that works with the AirLeash (a remote tracker worn on the wrist) to follow you while you are surfing, snowboarding or biking. A camera mounted on the AirDog captures the action, wherever it goes, from above.
But it gets even more amazing. The working prototype, currently flying in demonstrations over the United States, was produced using 3D printing technologies from Stratasys, with guidance from Stratasys’ Latvian partner, Baltic3D, and Polish reseller Bibus Menos.
“As the world’s first auto-follow action sports drone, AirDog not only grants end-users their own affordable and personal aerial video crew, but goes one step further in providing thrilling footage from distances and angles previously inaccessible to such consumers,” explained Edgars Rozentals, Co-founder and CEO of Helico Aerospace Industries.
A production-grade thermoplastic (ULTEM 9085), popular in the aerospace industry for its high strength-to-weight ratio, was used to create the AirDog quadcopter. “We were particularly impressed by how far we could push the boundaries of the ULTEM material,” said Rozentals. “The material’s functional stability enabled us to 3D print very thin walls that further reduced AirDog’s overall weight.
For the AirLeash, Helico chose to use rubber-like as well as rigid materials in a single prototype, relying on Stratasys’ PolyJet 3D printing technology, which allows for the incorporation of multiple materials in a single go.
“I’m not sure how we would have arrived at the stage of having a functional part, were it not for Stratasys 3D printing technology. I founded the company two years ago and we’re a staff of three, so for start-ups like Helico, this technology isn’t just a game-changer, but the ticket to the game itself,” ventured Rozentals.
Watch this video to see how, as the world’s first auto-follow action sports drone, the fully 3D printed AirDog produced with Stratasys 3D printing technology, grants end-users their own affordable and personal aerial video crew.