It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Quadcopter!

Posted at 8:42 PM, Feb 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-01 22:53:05-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- Engineering students at Calvin College were recently challenged during a three-week only course to design and make quadcopters. These devices are designed to be unmanned and remote-controlled. One unique device that students got to use, was a new 3D printer which actually produces acrylic parts and pieces.

“The course was really focused on giving the students an opportunity to take a design from start to finish in a very short amount of time.” Professor Randy Brouwer said.

Along with coming up with the design, students had to research the ethical, legal aspects along with the policy behind how they could fly it safely. After three or four days, they were given parts like motors, propellers, engine controllers, a controller module and a microprocessor; the rest, was up to them. Craig Newhouse is actually a Calvin alumni who happens to use an industrial quadcopter for his line of work as a landscape architect. He brought in his quadcopter to give the student an idea and help them a bit along the way, too.

Various ideas for how the students believed the quadcopters could be used, range from having a speaker system that could deliver a public service address to people stranded after a natural disaster, saying where they could find food, shelter or other help, to being a courier in a big city.

“Most of them said this was the best course they ever had.” Prof. Brouwer said proudly.

The quadcopters will not be put into use, but will stay at Calvin so they can be used as examples in the future.