New drone technology proves da Vinci’s designs will fly

Drone Technology - Da Vinci Helicopter Design and Drone

The 530-year-old aerial screw-shaped helicopter has been developed into a modern flying device.

A new drone technology called Crimson Spin has been developed by University of Maryland engineers that used Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw design.

The gadget showed that the design from the 1480s will work when constructed with modern materials.

The University of Maryland showed that when using modern materials, Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw design can be made into a drone technology that will fly. They did so in their Crimson Spin gadget.

The Crimson Spin is based on da Vinci’s late 1480s sketches. The sketch was designed to provide one-person flight in a helicopter propelled by an “aerial screw”. Until now, the sketch was nothing more than that. It took modern materials to be able to develop the sketches into a machine that will fly. The project showed that the genius who lived over 500 years ago was centuries ahead of his time and was correct in his thinking.

The engineering team from the University of Maryland started the drone technology design in 2019.

The University of Maryland’s engineering team began its design and testing of the technology described in the sketches as a part of a design contest. Since that time, team member Austin Prete spent a year and a half to build the Crimson Spin unmanned quadcopter. The screw-like copter was then flown on a number of short trips.

Drone Technology - Austin Prete - University of Maryland Video - Crimson Spin

“I was absolutely surprised it worked,” said Prete, a graduate student in the University of Maryland’s aerospace engineering department. The development and creation of the pilotless aircraft was completed for Prete’s master’s degree. Prete and the rest of the team said that they’d initially been skeptical about the project, but that following some computer simulations of da Vinci’s design and 3D-printed screw prototypes revealed promising indicators.

Prete has now presented his drone technology results at the Transformative Vertical Flight 2022 conference that took place at the end of January in San Jose, California. The presentation included the first video of the screw-shaped helicopter flying. The project represented a solid example of the way new technologies are moving away from conventional aircraft design.

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