Two Fuel Cell Powered Robots

Posted 9 Jun 2003 at 16:42 UTC by steve Share This

NASA's Helios electric-powered, robot plane has set a number of altitude records. But until now, Helios has used only solar panels as a power source and could fly only during daylight. Now NASA wants to add fuel cells so Helios can also fly during the night, resulting in an "eternal" plane that can fly 24 hours a day. For details, see the NASA press release. Meanwhile, in Japan, Sohgo Security Services Co. has announced that they will be the first company to sell a fuel cell powered robot. When their C-4 Security Robot detects a fire it will activate the fire alarm and use its built-in fire extinguisher. When it detects intruders it will sound alarms, flash lights, shout words like "Thief!" at them, and shoot them with a paintball gun that leaves identifiable marks.

derigible / plane, posted 11 Jun 2003 at 03:06 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

I think it would be cool if they made the Helios more like a derigible where it could use uncompressed (or relatively uncompressed hydrogen) in their fuel cells so that it could aid in the aircraft's lift and use also use the hydrogen as fuel and thereby cause the propellers to need less propulsion at least part of the time. Instead of loading the wings full of fuel causing it to be heavy during the first half of flight, it would be just the opposite, the hydrogen fueld would cause it to be light during the first half of flight. However, after the airplane used up the hydrogen fuel it would drop like a rock. I suppose the size of the craft would have to be huge to carry that much uncompressed hydrogen. It would be an engineering marvel to have an aircraft that could shrink and become smaller and less derigible shaped and more airplane wing airfoil shaped during the flight to keep lift efficiency as high as possible.

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