Virtual Reality Helmet Could Redefine In-Flight Entertainment

The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus a patent in August for headrests that include helmets attached to a carrier. The headrests will relieve passenger stress by providing entertainment in addition to “sensorial isolation with regard to the external environment.” They will play immersive multimedia content on glasses with display screens that are capable of “holographic projection mode,” according to the patent. Continue reading Virtual Reality Helmet Could Redefine In-Flight Entertainment

FAA Regulations Needed as Aerial Drones Grow in Popularity?

As the price of small drones decreases, the popularity of these tiny unmanned aircraft increases for aerial wedding photographers and gadget enthusiasts alike. In New York City in particular, the proliferation of these devices has state officials and law enforcement officers worried. There is no required training for the amateur pilots operating these drones. In terms of regulations, the Federal Aviation Agency currently permits drones to be flown under 400 feet. Continue reading FAA Regulations Needed as Aerial Drones Grow in Popularity?

Drone Debate Continues as Hollywood Seeks Production Options

Hollywood continues to consider drones for media production since they have the potential to save money, offer creative options and create a safer set. Drone-makers, rigging manufacturers and aerial production companies have joined forces to offer camera-equipped drones and services. However, federal law prohibits the commercial use of unmanned aircrafts. The FAA is currently reviewing a request by the MPAA to allow drones for use by the film and television industry. Continue reading Drone Debate Continues as Hollywood Seeks Production Options

FAA Considers Allowing Entertainment Industry to Use Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may lift current restrictions that prohibit the use of drone aircraft for commercial purposes. Seven companies in the film industry filed requests with the help of the Motion Picture Association of America to be able to use small drones at a low altitude in a limited airspace for aerial photography. Drones have already been used in the movie industry despite the ban, but this step could lead to further relaxation of the FAA’s policy. Continue reading FAA Considers Allowing Entertainment Industry to Use Drones

The AMAZE Project: Space Agency Brings 3D Printing to Metal

The European Space Agency plans to apply 3D printing to metal in order to build parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects. ESA and the EU, together with industrial and academic partners, are developing the first large-scale 3D production methods to create metal parts that are lighter and more affordable than conventional parts. While 3D printing is already being used to produce plastic products, applying the process to metal parts for rockets and planes would save money and be more efficient. Continue reading The AMAZE Project: Space Agency Brings 3D Printing to Metal

3D Printing May Lead to Lighter Components and More Efficient Aircraft

  • ETCentric has been following a number of interesting developments in the 3D printing space, the latest of which involves printing mechanical components with metal powder that results in durable, lighter parts ideal for aircraft.
  • MIT’s Technology Review reports that EADS Innovation Works in England is using 3D printer technology to create jet components that weigh as much as half that of their conventionally manufactured counterparts.
  • EADS, which owns Airbus, hopes to transform manufacturing by creating strong, durable parts via 3D printers that are lighter and will make aircraft more efficient by burning less fuel.
  • Chris Turner, an engineer at EADS, is using machines that can create “intricate forms out of high-grade metal, an advance that has allowed researchers to apply the design possibilities of 3D printing to mechanical parts,” explains the article.
  • “The printers use software that works out where the parts need to bear loads and places material just in those areas, halving the weight of the complete part without sacrificing strength. That saves energy, metal, and money,” reports Technology Review. “The complex, curving forms that result couldn’t be cast in a mold or carved out of a larger block even with the most advanced computer-controlled tools, but they can be printed in a succession of layers tens of micrometers thick.”
  • The company hopes to eventually create mechanical parts as well as large aircraft components such as wing spars.

British Engineers Build and Fly First Printed Aircraft

  • Engineers in the UK have designed, built and flown a model aircraft, the entire structure of which has been printed (including its two-meter wings, control surfaces and access hatches).
  • The Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft unmanned air vehicle (UAV) was printed layer by layer on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine.
  • The electric vehicle, the first of its kind to be completely printed, is capable of a top speed of nearly 100 miles per hour.
  • “The flexibility of the laser sintering process allows the design team to re-visit historical techniques and ideas that would have been prohibitively expensive using conventional manufacturing,” says University of Southampton professor Jim Scanlon. “This type of structure was initially developed by Barnes Wallis and famously used on the Vickers Wellington bomber which first flew in 1936. This form of structure is very stiff and lightweight, but very complex. If it was manufactured conventionally it would require a large number of individually tailored parts that would have to be bonded or fastened at great expense.”
  • “This is a great example of what 3D printers are making possible,” comments ETCentric staffer George Gerba.