A collapsable blimp to explore the inside of pyramids


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/26/a-collapsable-blimp-to-explore.html


Seems to me you could get the same results with a small drone, and they’re pretty cheap off-the-shelf, compared to a custom blimpie. Plus, either way you need a 1-inch hole. You think the Mummy’s Curse can’t get through a 1-inch hole?


… such tiny size that they could drill a 3.5-mm hole …

Seems like those should be cm like in the video.


A drone that ventures too close to the wall or ceiling will foul its rotors and crash/break. A microblimp will just… bump against the wall. Drones are a more twitchy, fast-reflex sort of craft. Dealing with a completely unlit enclosed space with no ability to get in there and retrieve your broken flying machine (and no vision on what’s going on beyond the flying machine’s own camera and whatever puny LED light it can carry), I can see how they’d want to stick to a slow-moving, sedate sort of device.

eta: as @Shuck points out, there’s also battery life issues with any ultra-mini heavier than air machine, whereas a microblimp can use a much slower propeller that gives better battery life for the same size battery.


I don’t get cell reception in most casino hotel rooms. They’re not particuarly thick, the casino just doesn’t see a value in adding a repeater when they can provide a landline with surcharges and nudge you down to the casino floor.

What my aside is saying is it may be difficult for the signal to a drone to penetrate deep through a series of concrete walls.


They’ll probably use low-frequency radio signals on the order of 100 kHz in order to penetrate that much rock.


If they can insert the drone, then they can insert a ton of LED light and a broadcast/reception antenna behind it.

My assumption is that they’ll push light and a camera through first to scope out the entry area, THEN insert the drone blimp, then insert additional light/camera/antenna. They’ve got a 1-3/8" hole to work with. That’s a lot of diameter for payloads. I’m not sure that a blimp is the optimal solution, but I’m sure it’s not the worst.


A standard wifi extension antenna will fit easily. No need for any special technology. But it makes sense to attach the lights to the blimp because you may be able to get a powerful light down the hole, but it’s not going to be usefully directional. My own experience with endoscopic exploration of cavities is that (Murphy’s Law) the thing of interest is typically going to be right on the wall through which you just drilled.


A blimp designed to fit through a 3.5-mm hole could be deployed through a headphone jack to explore the inside of your stereo.


that’s some magic schoolbus level miniaturization


Ben Carson’s gonna look pretty smart when they find vast stores of grain.


This is brilliant. I wonder how easy it would be to engineer, though.

Not really, though. You get a lot more “bang for your buck” with a blimp in these conditions. The smallest commercial drone is slightly more than an inch, and only has a five-minute battery time (I don’t think it has either a light or a camera, either). Moving a quadcopter slowly around a space would be more difficult as well.

It can’t. You’d have to actually touch the drone to catch the curse in these conditions. (Unless it’s one of those curses transmitted by video, obviously.)


Wouldn’t that problem be exactly the same, drone or blimp?


Oh, the small manatee!


Came for the Ben Carson and manatee jokes, leaving satisfied.


I feel like this will be a more expensive, robot-blimp 21st century version of “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults”. They’ll get in there and find. . .nothing. Just an empty room.


If I get to conduct the exploration, I can guarantee that the wall will be second only to the item I tip over and destroy when my drillbit punches through.



Do the lights on the blimp say ICE CUBES A PIMP?


So that’s why Apple and Samsung are leaving them off these days. To prevent reverse engineering.