Ultrasonic Vibrations Propel DOCOMO’s Blade-Free Drone

May 17, 2019 by Scott McMahan

NTT DOCOMO, Inc. has developed a blimp-style drone that does not use propellers or wings for propulsion. The drone can move forward and backward through the air using ultrasonic vibrations. It has potential applications in concert halls, homes, and other indoor spaces. The propellerless drone uses helium to stay aloft.

Several small modules generate the ultrasonic vibrations that propel the drone.

The company points out that conventional propeller-powered drones can cause serious injury or damage if the propellers or wings hit people or objects. However, coming in contact with DOCOMO's drone blimp presents no danger.

In the near future, DOCOMO intends to deploy its drone blimp at concert halls and other indoor events for entertainment, information, and advertising. The company says it is also possible to use projection mapping to display images and videos on the drone's reflective surfaces. Also, the drone can be equipped with tiny cameras for monitoring and security solutions.

DOCOMO presented the drone's development story at The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019), a UK-based academic conference focusing on human-computer interaction.

The drone was also exhibited and demonstrated at the NTT booth during Niconico Chokaigi 2019, which was held at the Makuhari Messe convention complex outside Tokyo from April 27.

Going forward, DOCOMO plans to continue developing its advanced drone services, leveraging its mobile-network technologies.