3D Printing

Power a Drone from Your Phone with 3D Printed Smartphone Case Prototypes

Well, this certainly seems interesting… In my relatively brief, but fruitful experience with 3D printing technology, I’ve written about 3D printed drones quite often, and have even printed myself various cases for my smartphone. The emerging technology seems to fit both applications quite well, but never in my life did I think that I’d see 3D printing being used to create drones within a smartphone. My lackluster imagination was proven wrong at the Birmingham-based Gadget Show Live expo, which hosted a competition called the British Inventors Project. This is where the competition finalist, a UK-based company called Buzz Technology, unveiled the DRONE-IN-A-PHONE.

PhoneDrone3

The DRONE-IN-A-PHONE is a tethered microdrone that is able to fold up and fit snugly into a camera case, while the battery for the drone is similarly folded and stationed within a smartphone case. Prototyped with 3D printing technology, the Buzz Technology team have figured out how to reduce the size and weight of the drone, making it efficiently pocket-sized, while also significantly increasing flight times and durability of the microdrone. Alongside the DRONE-IN-A-PHONE is Buzz Technology’s CAM-ON-A-CABLE, a tethered camera solution that can be removed from the smartphone and placed anywhere.

The CAM-ON-A-CABLE enables users to take hand-free photos and videos, and can be clipped to almost any object, whether it is stationary or in motion. Whether that be on your sunglasses, car, or bicycle, you can now take smartphone photos and footage without taking our your smartphone. The camera solution includes multiple lenses that can be stored within the smartphone and instantly swapped over for different angle or macro necessities. And yes, the CAM-ON-A-CABLE can even be combined with the DRONE-IN-A-PHONE, allowing for a high-flying aerial views. In order to bring these prototypes to life, and effectively awe the Gadget Show Live audience, Buzz Technology turned to 3D printing technology.

BuzzPhoneCam-glasses-lensswap-selfie

“We make extensive use of 3D printing technologies to develop our prototypes internally at affordable costs,” said Senake Atureliya, the founder and CEO of Buzz Technology. “We believe that 3D printing is making it possible for startups such as ours to create functional prototypes that could truly take mainstream technologies, such as mobile phones and consumer electronic products in general, in new and fascinating directions.”

PhoneDroneGPlus

The two prototypes are currently on display at Buzz Technology’s stand (BIP18) at the Gadget Show Live, which is running until April 3rd, and have earned themselves a spot as one of the handful of finalists in the 2016 British Inventors Project competition. Led by Atureliya, Buzz Technology is hoping to soon launch a Kickstarter for these prototypes, in the form of a standalone phone case, sometime in the third quarter of 2016. So if you like the idea of powering a microdrone and conveniently storing and swapping out camera lenses all from your smartphone, be on the lookout for more upcoming buzz from Buzz Technology in the near future!