The Quadshot is a remote-controlled aircraft combining the stability and control of a helicopter with the speed and maneuverability of an airplane. The creative minds behind the innovative technology just won a Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award.
Using four independent motors, The Quadshot takes off vertically and hovers like a helicopter, enabling it to pitch and roll in all directions. But at the press of a button it adjusts orientation and zooms forward like an airplane – capable of high speeds and dazzling aerobatics.
“There’s really nothing quite like the Quadshot,” says mechanical engineer Jeff Gibboney. “No other RC aircraft can take off straight up, hover and fly like a docile trainer and then transform into an aerobatics plane simply by flipping a switch.”
The Quadshot uses gyroscopes, accelerometers, and microprocessors – originally developed for smart phones – to run software that makes flight extremely intuitive. Additionally, both the onboard electronics and software are open-source, allowing users to modify the aircraft and its flight capabilities, adding to the appeal for both hobbyists and researchers alike. The Quadshot can be purchased fully assembled and ready to fly, or ordered in one of three packages that encourage software and build customization. Mounting a camera, additional sensors or flight instruments are just a few of the seemingly endless possibilities.
“The Quadshot is the very definition of a cool idea,” says Proto Labs founder and CTO Larry Lukis. “It’s obviously going to be a blast to operate for hobbyists everywhere, and with the open-source elements that are certain to be embraced by that community, the research implications are fascinating.”
Gibboney and his design team learned of the Cool Idea! program while researching injection molding. “I’d already connected with Proto Labs to learn about injection molding properties,” says Jeff. “They have extremely helpful customer service and engineers that provide expert advice over the phone. The first parts we received were perfect and shipped to us incredibly quickly.”
In terms of how winning the Cool Idea! Award has impacted their production process, Jeff adds, “It’s been amazing. Having our parts covered by Proto Labs has freed up capital to dedicate to other areas as we prepare for our product launch. Plus, being part of the small but highly talented group of designers and engineers that can call themselves Cool Idea! winners is a tremendous honor.”
Cool Idea! is an award program offered by Proto Labs that gives product designers the opportunity to bring innovative products to life. In 2012, Proto Labs expanded the program’s reach to include the European Union, and is now offering up to $250,000 of prototyping and short-run production services.