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Animal Powered Short Hop Helicopter

Treadmill winds a spring that is released to spin the blades.
  [vote for,

Could be wrong, but I don't think there's a lot of promise in getting quadruped animals to fly under their own power, but as that's the task at hand, this is one way.

Cage with a treadmill in it and a spring attached to the rotor blade assembly, contra rotating to keep it simple.

Dog, cat, gerbil, marmoset etc run for enough time needed to wind the spring, then they push the launch button with their nose and take off, landing a short time later after the spring unwinds.

Neat thing about this is, 1) it would actually work, and 2) in the case of dogs, you could actually train them to fly on their own as in: "Oh look, the dog is flying his helicopter in the backyard." This sentence in no way being associated with the use of hallucinogenic drugs as it would have been in the past.

Not sure if a battery powered version would be lighter than a spring. That battery technology is getting pretty impressive. The spring just seems a little cooler though.

I like the idea of things that could have been invented and built hundreds of years ago with the technology of the time. You could picture King Louis and his minions all golf clapping as the court dog flew over the royal gardens in le chien alimenté hélicoptère.

doctorremulac3, Jan 04 2018

Yes, but would the dog, once trained, actually use it? https://www.youtube...watch?v=HJk-FzdAYwQ
You be the judge. [doctorremulac3, Jan 06 2018]

Cat Ejection Pack Cat_20Ejection_20Pack
Undeservedly popular ... [8th of 7, Jan 06 2018]

Driving dog. https://www.youtube...watch?v=BWAK0J8Uhzk
Please turn the volume down, there appears to be nothing but static in the background. [doctorremulac3, Jan 06 2018]

Stupid driving dog video. https://www.youtube...watch?v=krW_tE60T6M
[doctorremulac3, Jan 06 2018]

Dogs flying planes. https://www.theguar...dogs-to-fly-a-plane
Little different than this idea. Actually a lot different, and not in a good way. [doctorremulac3, Nov 12 2021]

Dog attack videos https://www.youtube...watch?v=LEhrEBv5rNY
Lots of energy in that bite / shake movement [doctorremulac3, Nov 14 2021]

Wow! Dogs love hamster wheels! https://www.youtube...watch?v=O1gt9r_JQAU
[doctorremulac3, Nov 14 2021]

and treadmills https://www.youtube...watch?v=7UgeuUMR4dg
[doctorremulac3, Nov 14 2021]

Constant torque Spring Motor https://www.yshspri...rque-spring-motors/
[scad mientist, Nov 15 2021]

Different but related Husky_20Powered_20Aircraft
[pertinax, Nov 15 2021]


AfroAssault, Jan 06 2018

       [Afro]! Welcome back!
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 06 2018

       I've always been fascinated by the things man and dog share. Pack hunting, driving, playing catch and most specifically the difference between the cat and the dog regarding these shared traits.   

       Put a dog in a car he sticks his head out the window and enjoys the ride. Put a cat in the car he claws your eyes out assuming this is some kind of cat grinder you've put him in.   

       You can play catch with a dog who will understand the cycle. He catches the ball and brings it back to be re- thrown. A cat will paw instinctively at a mouselike object, even a laser dot, but seems pretty un-aware, even being fooled by the farcical mouse. The dog knows it's a ball and this is just an exercise.   

       A dog fulfills his evolutionary duty to the family home, the "pack" in his eyes, by defending it. This is how the man/dog link came about. Early dog would hang out at early man camps for scraps of food and while warning, with their more sensitive sensory apparatus, of impending attack by wild animals, other tribes etc. When both went hunting together, it was a perfect match and still is.   

       So with all these decades of man ruling the skies, isn't it time to share this domain with our evolutionary partner?   

       The time for man to fly came a long time ago. The time has now come for dog to fly.   

       I will add, there may be a practical side to this idea. Cost to make this thing, probably a few thousand dollars. A video of this flight would be watched by some percentage of a billion people, not sure how big a percentage but the scale of viewing would most likely be in the hundreds of millions.   

       I don't know how much money you might make from a video with two hundred million views but certainly you could make a few thousand dollars no? Besides, there's more to life than money. (I keep telling myself that) The first dog powered helicopter would certainly deserve a footnote in aviation history would it not?
doctorremulac3, Jan 06 2018

       The energy-density-to-weight ratio of a spring is abysmal, it would never get off the ground. A big elastic band, maybe. Lithium batteries probably.   

       Also helicopters need much more power than planes. The longest human-powered plane journeys are quite significant, the longest human-powered helicopter flight is just a few seconds.   

       If it has to charge up on the ground, why not just plug it into a power socket? Or have a whole team of dogs charging it up for one pilot dog. Or tether the helicopter, with power coming up a cable from treadmills on the ground.   

       A team of huskies at ground level could even power a water pump, with a hose leading up to the water-jetpack of one lucky poodle.
mitxela, Jan 06 2018

       Let's be liberal with our interpretation of "spring".   

       You could flex the entire body of the craft to store the energy then transfer the potential energy to a pair of rotors.   

       But however it's done, it doesn't have to fly for long, just hop a few yards.
doctorremulac3, Jan 06 2018

       I'm thinking eliminate the spring and exchange for a flywheel with a multi-speed transmission. Have the transmission and treadmill remain behind on the ground for weight savings.   

       Or burn dried dog poo as fuel for a steam-powered engine.
RayfordSteele, Jan 06 2018

       Yea, good work around, but the dog might have a hard time resetting the mechanism which in that case would mean putting the thing back on the flywheel. Clever though.   

       I'm picturing this thing you buy, train the dog to use and then just let the dog go flying whenever it wants to. Why? Because there's no way a human could be sitting in his office and see his dog go flying by the window and not smile.   

       Unless the dog came smashing through the closed window, which I guess is a distinct possibility.   

       "Once dogcopter's up, who cares where it comes back? That's not my department." says 3rd Remulac."
doctorremulac3, Jan 06 2018


       We are dissatisfied by the lack of specific safety measures to protect the canine(s) involved.   

       Now, do not misunderstand; we have no objection to dog-powered, dog-controlled flight. In fact, we applaud the innovation. But the risk mitigation must be at least as effective as that provided for human pilots, otherwise we may have to implement Certain Sanctions ...   

       Now, if you want to use cats for the initial experiments, we'll provide as many as you need, and additionally supply the (very effective) means to motivate them ...   

       Also, <link>
8th of 7, Jan 06 2018

       Cats are pretty worthless as pilots. My research is extensive in that I thought about it for a second.   

       Cats have been known to stand on top of Rhumbas as they autonomously move about a room, but that's the extent of their piloting skill. This compared to dogs, who can actually manipulate controls and steer a vehicle.   

       (See link I've posted on previous occasions because it's pretty much my favorite video.)
doctorremulac3, Jan 06 2018

       // Cats are pretty worthless as pilots. //   

       Sp. "Cats are worthless" ....
8th of 7, Jan 06 2018

       Maybe cats could be treated as a negative value form of currency? An IOU?
RayfordSteele, Jan 07 2018

       The attached link is absolutely NOT what I meant.
doctorremulac3, Nov 12 2021

       I like the idea. A treadmill seems like a very heavy apparatus for harnessing energy from the dog. What if there is a "dog toy" hanging just high enough that the dog can leap up and bite it. The dog will hang from this, pulling a cord that winds the spring. When they let go, it goes back to its original position. That would be much more compact. You could even have a second "dog toy" that serves as both the launch mechanism and how the dog hangs from the device while it flies, though the dog wouldn't get a really good view that way during the flight.   

       Can most dogs hang fairly comfortably by their teeth, or is it only some of the little one that can do that? Using some sort of harness seems nicer for the dog, but then they would probably need help getting set up. If the dog can just jump and bite, they can play with this completely independently. [edit] Google: dog rope swing.
scad mientist, Nov 12 2021

       That's brilliant.   

       You're right, it's a weight game. A treadmill that would be firm enough for the dog running on it would be pretty heavy, even if it was made out of styrofoam parts. It would need bearings, a rubber sheet and a frame.   

       I like the idea of seeing what other motions dogs engage in that you could tap energy from with less mechanical mass.   

       I think you've nailed it with the bite and I'd add the vigorous shaking they do in an attack. At my son's police academy they had police dog demo day where the dogs would attack a well padded trainer. Let me find a video of how much energy they put into that shaking.   

       Now you'd need to have them in a harness so the shaking motion wouldn't just swing them around, but look at the video and judge if you could tap enough energy out of that to wind your takeoff spring.
doctorremulac3, Nov 14 2021

       On the other hand, looking at how dogs take to treadmills and hamster wheels if you can get the weight down enough...   

       Okay, problem: how to you tap the cumulative input of the dog running without it getting harder as they wound the spring? I think this might have to be electric. Any mechanical mechanism would get harder to charge as the potential energy was built up no?   

       But then how much treadmill time are we talking to get any significant flight? Half hour for a ten second flight? Dunno.   

       And batteries aren't exactly light. Water tank with electrical hydrogen / oxygen separation to be used as rocket fuel? At some point I suppose you could have a hydrogen balloon.
doctorremulac3, Nov 14 2021

       //problem: how to you tap the cumulative input of the dog running without it getting harder as they wound the spring?//   

       I presume a fusee could be used to wind the spring
pocmloc, Nov 14 2021

       Oh wow, so as it's harder to wind the spring the input leverage changes?   

       I never knew what a fusee was before. Now THAT'S why I've been coming to this site for 16 years or so.   

       I told my daughter when she was a toddler that one of the best things about life is, every morning when you wake up, you can be assured that when you go to sleep that night you'll have learned something during that day and increased your knowledge about the world you live in and that's a wonderful thing.
doctorremulac3, Nov 14 2021

       Well today I have learned about flying dogs!
pocmloc, Nov 14 2021

       Instead of a fusee, what about using a constant torque spring motor [link]?
scad mientist, Nov 15 2021

       Wow, do these actually work?
doctorremulac3, Nov 15 2021


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