Drones are the most popular hobby gift for your tech buddies. They are also the future of Amazon shipment. However, one company in San Francisco created a drone for a more meaningful purpose, humanitarian relief. The enthusiastically-named tech business, Otherlab!, states it is committed to developing crazy ideas that will help make the world a better place. In the past, they have teamed up with MIT, NASA and Google on projects anywhere from renewable technology and medical devices to crafted textiles and computational manufacturing.
Today, Otherlab! got its funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a US military agency which is concentrated on emerging innovations. With this, Otherlab! built a gadget they are calling an Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions or Apsara in short.
Apsara is a single-use glider drone developed to be used during emergency situations to airdrop cargo such as medicine or food to a particular location. After which, the drone will completely break down.
Otherlab! calls it “the world’s most functional paper plane.”
So far, no federal government agency has put the gliders to use yet. Theoretically speaking, Otherlab! will cut the cardboard in the laboratory and ship it flat to the customer. Each drone would take an hour to fold and tape up upon arrival.
The present prototypes are made from corrugated cardboard that breaks down after a few months. Otherlab! has plans to make the drones from mycelium, which is a mushroom-based product, that will entirely disintegrate within a few days.
The objective is to use hundreds or even thousands of these drones and leave no trace behind. This will prevent pollution to our environment.
Otherlab! created the drones to be dropped from a cargo plane. Each drone will have a GPS unit and 2 small motors to assist them to descend to within 50 feet of a pre-programmed landing location.
The company is now fine-tuning the drone’s model to bring the manageable load up from 1 kg to 10 kg so that humanitarian companies like the Red Cross can use it in hot spots and war zones.