Robotic Spider Patches Will “Heal” Airplanes During Flight

Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest defense and aerospace company in the world, has developed robots that discover holes in airships and then patches them on the spot, even during flight, reducing significantly the possibility of malfunctions or crashes #objectmagic

These robots are called “self propelled instruments for airship damage evaluation and repair” a.k.a SPIDER. The catchy acronym and the functionality inspired developers to add wires at the top so they sort of resemble arachnids. Before their existence, people had to find and repair all damage by hand, a time-consuming task that was subjected to human error.

Spiders work at the airship’s envelope, the air sack on top of the ship. It’s crucial that they find any minuscule hole in it and patch it to secure an air-tight environment. They have two parts, one is on the exterior of the envelope and the other on the interior. While one uses light the other employs the help of sensors to detect all holes.

Lockheed Martin is intent on making airships as safe as possible, as it hints at a new “hybrid” design that could deliver cargo, help in disaster zones or on the battlefield.

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