Monday, 3 August 2015

Did you say Gyrocopter?

Yes . . . "What is that?"

Here's our prediction using PK (prior knowledge) about what we think it might be:





The circled ideas (red) were close.  Here's what it really is:

Nearly 400 years before the invention of the helicopter, Leonardo da Vinci sketched out a machine designed to compress air in order to obtain flight.  When Igor Sikorsky designed the first successful helicopter in the late 1930's, da Vinci's spinning wing was his inspiration.

How does it work?
Gravity causes the gyrocopter to fall.  The air resistance on the blades pushes them upward, and the compressed air under the blades (plus the drag on the blades themselves) causes them to spin and slows the gyrocopter's fall.

We certainly had fun making them, testing them and moderating them thinking about what we could to to alter the time it takes for our gyrocopters to fall?  We also thought about how we could design them differently by trimming the blades, adding more paperclips or blue tac.

Here's the result:




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