PufferBot is a drone that can expand a protective structure to avoid damage to its propellers when near obstacles. We present 4 possible models of Pufferbot and 3 scenarios where PufferBot's unique attributes are useful. This research is recently published at The IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2020).
Abstract: We present PufferBot, an aerial robot with an expandable structure that may expand to protect a drone's propellers when the robot is close to obstacles or collocated humans. PufferBot is made of a custom 3D-printed expandable scissor structure, which utilizes a one degree of freedom actuator with rack and pinion mechanism. We propose four designs for the expandable structure, each with unique characterizations for different situations. Finally, we present three motivating scenarios in which PufferBot may extend the utility of existing static propeller guard structures.