F-SAM Folding Monocopter Drone

This cool little drone is called the F-SAM (Foldable Single Actuator Monocopter) and it's a foldable monocopter designed by researchers at the Singapore University of Technology & Design.

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Interesting Drone Design

This cool little drone is called the F-SAM (Foldable Single Actuator Monocopter) and it's a foldable monocopter designed by researchers at the Singapore University of Technology & Design. You can see the idea is based on Samara seeds that fall from Maple trees and float down while spinning to remain stable.

The drone can fold up small enough to fit in a pocket and weighs just 69g. It uses one motor and has a flexible wing and a flight control board to aid with control. I'm not sure how much control they have at this point. It could be just altitude ascending and descending, but possibly have some lateral control as well with fancy timing on motor pulses. Either way it's a pretty cool idea and they are getting flight times over 15 minutes.

What do you think about the F-SAM? Is it bound for consumer drone use one day, or just a research project with not much practical use in the real world?

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Dec 20, 2021, 09:29 AM
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Bill Glover's Avatar
What would the practical application be? Can't think offhand of a payload that would work with the whole thing spinning continuously.
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Dec 20, 2021, 10:08 AM
DWA
DWA
1Corinthians 13:1-8
DWA's Avatar
Yeah I agree.
Looks interesting but what would it’s use be?


Dave
Dec 20, 2021, 10:09 AM
“Critical Moments”
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Glover
What would the practical application be? Can't think offhand of a payload that would work with the whole thing spinning continuously.
Light shows like fireworks bursting out and flashing for extended periods.

Military use. A type of chaf that can be released and will disrupt guidance systems.
Last edited by Sky Angels; Dec 20, 2021 at 12:05 PM.
Dec 20, 2021, 10:50 AM
Fly Low - Hit Hard
Red Flyer's Avatar
At this point it’s a novelty. I am sure that something will come of it.

RF
Dec 20, 2021, 12:32 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
Lockheed Martin developed a military grade UAV monocopter much like this, but larger, a number of years back.

It was used for recon. It had a stabilized video system that took a frame of video at the same location in the rotation each time, more or less. The system could pan 360 degrees by slightly varying the cameras timing during the rotation.
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Dec 20, 2021, 04:41 PM
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JMP_blackfoot's Avatar
An evolution of the old McCutchen machine:
https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=5275
Dec 20, 2021, 05:24 PM
Registered Fanatic
That thing is extremely simple...

.,, compared to the camera gimbal it's going to need to steady the shot
Dec 20, 2021, 06:50 PM
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Irving J.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NordicMan
.,, compared to the camera gimbal it's going to need to steady the shot
Still, with the electronics available now that shouldn't be insurmountable.

I'm sure there will be practical applications but I can't think of any at the moment.

Portability/storage is a strong point for it and that may make the downsides acceptable for some users.
Dec 20, 2021, 07:37 PM
If it flies, I can crash it.
rocketsled666's Avatar
In order for the flight controller to work, it has to know where it is in its rotation. 6-DOF MEMS sensors are easily up to the task. So while it appears to be spinning "randomly", from the FC's point of view it knows exactly where it is in space from one moment to the next. It could easily use the same information to control a camera and grab a 360º image, like the panorama photos you can take with an iPhone only faster. The lack of "smooth" stability isn't an issue for digital image processing. Anyone who's seen what a GoPro or Insta360 can do knows that even the roughest footage can be stabilized digitally so it's buttery smooth. Throw a bunch of them in to the air at the same time, you could get a really good wide-area high-res image at a very low cost. Seems like it might have some good practical purposes for use cases that need these kinds of features. Military/Police, etc.
Dec 21, 2021, 11:13 AM
Registered User
I guess a camera with an algorithm to snap frames only at a certain angle of rotation based on a magnetometer could take a video, but at a low frame rate.
Dec 21, 2021, 05:51 PM
If it flies, I can crash it.
rocketsled666's Avatar
It's a question of shutter speed. The longer the exposure required to grab an image, the more blurring there'll be. But the rate of rotation will be known by the FC, and in the videos it doesn't look all that fast, maybe a few revs/second. A camera made of a single vertically oriented linear array of pixels could grab a "frame" very quickly and a 360º panorama built up "raster" fashion, only the raster will be vertical not horizontal.
Jan 03, 2022, 11:23 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Glover
What would the practical application be? Can't think offhand of a payload that would work with the whole thing spinning continuously.
A lot of things... drop from an airplane with a Forward Observer giving GPS coordinates from his laser rangefinder... drop it in the bed of a truck with a tracking transmitter, drop off an aerosolized weapon over a crowd (Chemical Riot agent, tracking glitter, marking dies etc), deliver an incendiary to a piece of equipment or building that needs to be destroyed, sit and act as listening devices or proximity alarms to detect vehicle traffic.

Most of the things in that list are things that we already do, might just be a more convenient way to do it.... drop a few hundred from a C-17 over a city that is rioting, use them to disperse the crowd with CS powder that has an adulterant in it that glows with UV light so the perpetrators can be identified. ...


.....lots of uses.
Jan 04, 2022, 04:33 AM
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Bill Glover's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Campbell
A lot of things... drop from an airplane with a Forward Observer giving GPS coordinates from his laser rangefinder... drop it in the bed of a truck with a tracking transmitter, drop off an aerosolized weapon over a crowd (Chemical Riot agent, tracking glitter, marking dies etc), deliver an incendiary to a piece of equipment or building that needs to be destroyed, sit and act as listening devices or proximity alarms to detect vehicle traffic.

Most of the things in that list are things that we already do, might just be a more convenient way to do it.... drop a few hundred from a C-17 over a city that is rioting, use them to disperse the crowd with CS powder that has an adulterant in it that glows with UV light so the perpetrators can be identified. ...


.....lots of uses.
I think many of those would depend on how well it could be steered in real-world conditions with wind/turbulence/etc. I understand it's theoretically possible to 'guide' a spinning device like this with timed pulses of motor power, but I suspect the forward speed and manoeuvrability would be pretty limited.
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Jan 04, 2022, 06:38 AM
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A GPS guided bomb dropped from appropriate height has no trouble finding it's target, neither would these, given accurate wind modelling plugged into the aircraft's release computer.


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