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MM: People-Carrying Drones; Deer Antlers Lead To Stronger Materials

In this episode of Manufacturing Minute, see how deer antlers could lead to stronger materials and a drone powerful enough to carry humans.

How Deer Antlers Could Lead To Stronger Materials

Engineers are constantly on the hunt for stronger materials, which could help make everything from spacecraft to sporting goods lighter and sturdier — as well as more efficient to produce.

Some industries already use advanced composite materials to fill that niche, but they are complicated and expensive to produce.

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London recently looked to the natural world for a possible alternative: the humble deer, which can slam its antlers into rivals with great force without shattering them.

Scientists examined the structure of a deer antler at nearly one thousandth the thickness of a hair strand, then used x-rays and computer modeling to identify how it works. 

The antler fibers, it turns out, are not arranged uniformly but are staggered, thereby allowing them to absorb intense impacts during a fight.

The study advances the understanding of bone structure and could eventually inspire the next generation of damage-resistant materials.

The next step, researchers say, is to develop a 3D-printed model, with fibers arranged in a staggered pattern and linked by an elastic interface — which could enable even small operations to simply print advanced materials.


Could the deer antler be a relatively simple solution to cheaper advanced materials? How could that dynamic impact manufacturing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Octocopter Drone

Drones are all the rage these days as companies and consumers alike continue to look for uses for them. Now the Norwegian company, Griff Aviation, has designed a heavy-lift drone that could carry a person. 

The company’s Griff 300 is an octocopter that weighs 165 lbs and can reportedly carry a payload of up to 496 lbs. Depending on load weight, one charge of the copter’s battery pack is good for a flight time of between 30 and 45 minutes. 

Although the Griff is manually flown from the ground via a radio remote control, users can also get a custom helicopter-cabin-like mobile control station that allows them to fly it with a first person view. 

There is currently no word on price. Specific payload options are available as extras, but there is an even beefier model on its way, the Griff 800, which will be able to carry payloads up to 1,764 lbs. 


Do you think heavy payload drones are a good idea? Could you see them used in the distribution of goods? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below. 

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