The new CyPhy Works pocket mini drone is pretty impressive, I must admit. It fits in your pocket and weights only 80 grams. It’ll fly continuously for two hours, sending back high quality HD video the entire time. And the best part about the CyPhy pocket mini drone? A microfilament tether that unspools the drone and keeps it constantly connected to communications and power.
CyPhy Works had the brilliant idea of bringing a thing back to robots that has (or had) a reputation of being somewhat of a crutch: a tether. Ideally, your robots would be efficient enough to be able to run on batteries, completely independently. And for ground robots, that’s usually not too hard to do, since they’re not fighting gravity all the time. However, with hovering UAVs, anything that can run on batteries (and hover) is probably only going to be aloft for 10 or perhaps 20 minutes at best.
As CyPhy Works founder and CEO Helen Greiner was quoted as saying “That’s about enough time to go into a building and find a person, and then ‘Oh, our robot went dead.’ ” The microfilament, in contrast, provides a constant source of power to your robot, so you can fly any drone that uses the system until your base station (which doesn’t have to move) runs out of power. If you’re plugged into the grid, these robots could stay aloft for days.
We have not yet flight tested the CyPhy Works pocket drone but hope to report back on it as soon as we get our hands on it. We think it could offer some groundbreaking new alternatives into industries where 10 to 20 minutes of flight time for an aerial camera is simply not enough.