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Disposable blimp-in-a-can

Psheeeetttt, there it goes
  (+10, -1)(+10, -1)
(+10, -1)
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[I'm a pacifist, so I'm sinning against my principles here].

Ok, the idea is very simple. A tiny surveillance blimp-in-a-can for military applications, in difficult terrain.

Unmanned Aireal Vehicles (UAVs) and Micro-UAVS are all the rage in the military. They have tiny cameras and can be deployed in the battlefield, but they often require a trained person to operate the aircraft.

This blimp-in-a-can is an alternative that can be used by all battle forces, probably best in urban terrain.

The blimp is around 1 meter (3ft) long with a diameter of 20cm (7 inches). It is packed tightly in a cannister that contains just enough compressed helium [see an example of a tiny disposable helium cannister for party balloons]. The cannister is around as big as a beer-can.

The tiny blimp is made from transparent material, so it is very difficult to spot.

When a soldier wants to check out a dangerous place, he just pulls open the can and the tiny blimp inflates. It contains a small strip of flexible, thin-film solar panel which powers both the blimp and the micro-camera. Alternatively, a tiny battery is stored in the blimp (for operation at night).

This blimp is extremely easy to operate, silent and very difficult to detect with the naked eye because it is transparent. It is also amazingly stable and has a long autonomy. It can hover like a helicopter, but without the noise; it is also very energy efficient.

The blimp-in-a-can is so cheap that it might be best to keep things disposable (a reusable one is under investigation). Also, when the blimp gets in trouble, it's not a disaster because it is so cheap and mass-manufactured.

I suggest each soldier in Iraq gets a stack of 5 cans. Just to make me rich.

This idea was inspired by the following YouTube video [see link].

django, Apr 25 2008

The amazing remote controlled solar blimp http://youtube.com/watch?v=0VBTKEPAzvA
A nice toy [django, Apr 25 2008]

Cheap disposable helium canister http://www.partydel...helium-balloons.asp
We can miniaturise this just for 1 blimpie [django, Apr 25 2008]

Solar Balloon http://www.eurocosm...olar-airship-GB.asp
And we never saw this guy again. I forget his name... [Amos Kito, Apr 25 2008]

Ocean cleaning robots Ocean_20Cleaning_20Robots
Bungston referred to this part of the scheme [django, Apr 27 2008]


       According to the Hyperblimp, it takes 15 cubic feet of helium to lift one pound. With solar cells, batteries, and circuitry, this seems close to what you'd need. And calm winds and sunshine.   

       There's another solar blimp, using dark plastic to create a hot air balloon. That might reduce the amount of required helium. Considering the UFO reports on the Hyperblimp, transparency may not have much camouflage value. Maybe it could have lots of dark panels for heating.
Amos Kito, Apr 25 2008

       There are other problems:
Can it be used at night at all? Would IR or LE work well in this scenario? FLIR is big and bulky.
As soon as you've released it, you've told everyone where you are.
You still have to carry the C&C equipment to run the thing.

       On the plus side, it could be nearly silent. Also, if released with a number of decoys, they could be allowed to passively float over enemy lines. They might even serve as a distraction to some other offensive action.
phoenix, Apr 25 2008

       It would probably not be a good idea to make it 'as big as a beer can'. I forsee blimp-ingestion calamities.
Mister Sketchly, Apr 25 2008

       If I was a soldier, I'd trade four of my blimp-cans for cases of beer. I'd then drink the beer whilst using the remaining blimp to snoop into peoples windows.   

       I'd make a bad soldier.
wagster, Apr 25 2008

       sp. aerial, I think.
pertinax, Apr 26 2008

       And when the blimp has served its purpose, and the soldiers move off, the wind blows it out to sea, where it turns evil, settles into the water and begins its inexorable path toward the Pacific, and a waiting albatross chick.
bungston, Apr 27 2008

       [bungston] hahaha!! For readers who discover the Halfbakery in 2075, when the solar bots have done a good job, check the link, so you know what [bungston] is referring to.   

       The future works like this: oil depletion causes a scramble for scarce resources. These wars require hundreds of millions of tiny battlefield blimps in a can. They all end up in the Pacific. Where my bots recuperate them. We then turn the plastic trash back into blimps and wars.   

       Everybody happy, me eco-friendly CEO, me recycler, recup, me rich.
django, Apr 27 2008

       Can I be your helium man?
james_what, Apr 27 2008

       (+). It's ideas like this that make me wish that [Shadow Phoenix] was still around.
Shadow Phoenix, Apr 27 2008

       Since this is meant to be a cheap, disposable system, why not use hydrogen instead?
Alx_xlA, Aug 17 2010

       how will it get anywhere? how will it go up to a certain height and stay there?
Voice, Aug 18 2010


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