'SQUID': Ballistically-Launched, Foldable, Football-Shaped Drone

The "Streamlined Quick Unfolding Investigation Drone," or SQUID, was recently unveiled launching from a tube by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The SQUID prototype was developed by researchers at Caltech, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Olin College, and the researchers describe their work in this paper . This prototype for a ballistically-launched drone — a football-shaped quadrotor — unfolds after launch and begins to fly, even when launched from a moving vehicle. This transition is accomplished via passive unfolding of the multirotor arms, triggered by a nichrome burn wire release mechanism. As the researchers say in their paper, ballistically-launched small aircraft systems have applications in both emergency response and space exploration.