Future Structures Holoflight

In a future world where Augmented Reality technology is part of everyday life, the boundary between what is real and what is virtual will become invisible. HoloFlight is a concept system for synchronising the digital and physical world through the use of microscale data gathering agents in the year 2045.

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//The System
HoloFlight is a system which generates high fidelity large scale, 3d environmental models, for use by AR technologies, city infrastructure management and disaster relief. This is achieved by deploying a large number of low-cost lightweight drifting agents which float in the air like dandelion seeds. These work together to build up a model of the world through data gathered by their sensors.

//Design Embodiment
The system is designed to utilise technologies that will exist by the year 2045 which are currently in their infancy. Four emerging technologies were explored to help realise the concept in the present day and speculate how they may be used in the future context.

//3D Printed Embedded Electronics
The agents will collect the desired data using integrated electronics within the structure. Various sensors could be used to obtain different types of data including images, temperature, pollution level etc. Conductive silver tracks are printed onto to the MSLA printed parts to form the circuit. Larger components are then connected including processing and networking chips. This creates an active 3D printed part with all intelligence built-in by a single machine.

//Shape-Shifting Wings
Directional control will be integrated within the material of the agent itself, inspired by the muscular system of animals. The agents would be made from a flexible material with an embedded smart alloy wire which allows the shape of the wing to be changed. The mechanism is built as part of the 3D printing process meaning that mechanical joints are not required. This will be a lower cost to manufacture and reduces the possibility of agent structural damage in during descent.

//Artificial Seed Drifters
The structure of the agents was inspired by the ability of wind dispersal seeds to travel and glide through a considerable distance. The agent takes the form of an organic helicopter seed that has a distinct wing with a slight pitch which causes a circular motion as it falls. The wing angle pitch was optimised to provide a low terminal descent velocity whilst still producing the desired spinning motion. A controlled descent allows the structures to scan the horizons effectively and increase flight time to be transported horizontally to cover a larger surface area before reaching the ground.

//Multi-Agent Simulations
In order to validate that a large quantity of free-falling agents could effectively and quickly gather data about an area, a simulation was created and run for different quantities of agents with different levels of autonomy. This allowed us to evaluate how the agent control accuracy and location awareness would affect the percentage coverage for a given region with a given number of agents launched.
//VR Experience
To speculate how the system could work in the real future world a virtual reality experience was created which puts the user in the perspective of a HoloFlight employee in the year 2040. They are tasked with remapping an area which has changed due to an earthquake.

The experience was created in Unity 3D for the oculus quest headset. All the 3D assets were modelled in Blender.

//Tools Used
+ Future Foresight Methodology
+ Unity 3D
+ Blender
+ Fusion 360
+ Adobe Illustrator
+ Adobe Indesign
+ Oculus Quest
+ Airtable
+ SLA Resin
+ PLA Filament
+ Smart Alloy Wire
+ Ninjaflex
+ Silver Conductive Paint
+ Bare Conductive Paint
+ Attiny microcontrollers
+ Copper conductive tape
+ Pauline Ng
+ Medad Newman
+ Edward James
+ Dr Nan Li
+ March 2020