X

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.

I agree
Learn More
Great Geek Gifts in the Technabob Shop!Get Technabob Daily: Join our Mailing List! | Follow Us: Facebook | Twitter
Awesomer Media Sites: THE AWESOMER | MIGHTYMEGA | 95OCTANE
subscribe to our rss feedsubscribe via e-mailfollow technabob on twittertechnabob facebook fan pageGoogle+follow us in feedly
Follow Us:
Cool Gadgets, Gizmos, Games and Geek Stuff on Technabob

Lockheed Martin SPIDER Robot Patches Holes in Giant Hybrid Airships

by Shane McGlaun
Advertisement

Back in the day, I was rather obsessed with blimps. I thought they were super cool because they’re essentially a giant balloon you could fly under. Lockheed Martin has evolved the blimp into something called the Hybrid Airship, a massive flying vessel designed to carry lots of cargo to remote locations – and where it’s going, it doesn’t need roads.

lockheed_spider_robot_1zoom in

One challenge for Lockheed is how to inspect the massive envelope of the airship and repair any pinhole leaks. Originally, this involved a team outside the envelope with a bright light and a team inside the hole to patch any holes when the light shone through. Lockheed’s Skunk Works group didn’t like that approach and invented the Self-Propelled Instrument for Damage Evaluation and Repair, or SPIDER for short.

SPIDER is an autonomous robot with two halves that connect magnetically. One half rides outside the fully-inflated envelope while the other is inside. The outer half shines bright light on the envelope and when a hole is detected, the light bleeds through to the dark interior. The inner half sees that light and fixes the hole. If it detects and/or fixes a leak, it records this and sends images and report back to a central monitoring computer.

The spider bots work autonomously in packs to scour the entire airship and ready it for flight. I have no idea what the holes are patched with, probably duct tape.

Deals in The Technabob Shop




More from Awesomer Media...

Recreating History

Recreating History

Watching TV is Work

Watching TV is Work

1965 Mustang Serial Number 00002 for Sale

1965 Mustang Serial Number 00002 for Sale

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Review

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Review

Awesome Vintage Photo of Hamill, Fisher, and Ford

Awesome Vintage Photo of Hamill, Fisher, and Ford

Gentle Giant Spider-Man Collectors Gallery 1/8 Scale Statue

Gentle Giant Spider-Man Collectors Gallery 1/8 Scale Statue

Advertisement