ACCELERATED DRONE DESIGN
The rapid growth and democratization of remote controlled aerial drone technologies has led to an abundance of options for recreational and professional use. Most, however, are still too fragile for the unique demands of search and rescue operations.
In the wake of Japan’s Fukushima earthquake, Yuki Ogasawara and Ryo Kumeda were motivated to design a first responder aerial drone that could be safely navigated through disaster areas. The ideal design would need to be lightweight, but also rigid and robust enough to protect the drone’s vulnerable electronics and propeller blades.
The duo, along with an extended team of designers, turned to generative design
software to create an optimized lattice of protective material across the drone. This
lightweight framework not only protects the drone’s delicate components, but also
serves as an internal structure where the motors and electronics can be directly
Using 3D printing and the collaborative feedback of the open source community, the team was able to quickly fabricate, test, and revise their design at a rapid pace. This harmonious balance between human design intention, previously impossible generative design solutions, and desktop fabrication, exemplifies an exciting new path for product development.