x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ideas take flight for Emirati pioneers at Idex

Idex 2013: Engineering students from the capital have been showcasing their enthusiasm for technology at Idex by displaying some of their projects, with the aim of aiding the defence industry.

ABU DHABI // Engineering students from the capital have been showcasing their enthusiasm for technology at Idex by displaying some of their projects, with the aim of aiding the defence industry.

Khalifa Al Tamimi, 23, a senior aerospace engineering student, and 14 other students created a plastic orange drone called "Delta Wing" from scratch. It took the team, from Khalifa University, two months to come up with the design, two days to assemble it and then a further two days to check its capabilities.

"The manufacturing part is the most complex but it was able to fly the first time," Mr Al Tamimi said.

The drone flies using a remote control that the students bought and then altered by fusing wires together so it operated the drone. The students first came up with the idea when entering a competition called DBF - Design, Build, Fly, organised by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

"This year, we are aiming to get to the first rank," Mr Al Tamimi said.

The chance to attend Idex was also alluring to the students.

"It was an opportunity for me to show our accomplishments," Mr Al Tamimi said. "Also, we wanted to showcase our project to the sheikhs, and got to meet Sheikh Nahyan [bin Mubarak]."

With the help of a professor, Fahad Al Shaibani, 18, was able to build a quadcopter air drone in about a month.

"He pushed me to work on my own, and I put all the pieces together," he said. "I assembled the autopilot system to allow it to hover, and be able to reach from point A to B." The engine and wires were all ordered and brought in ready to be assembled, which the first-year student put together himself.

"I was inspired by the body and designed it on a specific programme and used aluminium to coat the surrounding, thus binding them together," Mr Al Shaibani said. To make the quadcopter drone safer, he aims to add ultrasonic sensors and maybe even cameras in the future.

"By adding cameras, we can, for example, send the drone to check for oil leaks in a refinery, or maybe allow the soldiers to see the land they are walking to, if they were in a desert," he said.

The drone can also be used to help those in need, by dropping food or blankets on a specific area, he added.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae