Since 2002 the world has lost 420 million hectares of forest cover. This is roughly 5 football fields of forest being cleared every minute. Immediate reforestation efforts are required to prevent a calamitous loss of biodiversity. However, of the forests mentioned above. 28% are located on mountainsides and 45% are in tropical areas with rough terrain. Aerial reforestation is an optimal solution to this problem–
- Quadcopters are aerial based platforms, and therefore they can move above difficult terrain with ease.
- Quadcopters are also GPS enabled, allowing them to fly through precise points.
- Quadcopters are fast. The most affordable drones can reach speeds of 65 kmph, ten times faster than an average human’s walking speed.
- Lastly, they are becoming increasingly cost effective– a drone with the above specification can cost less than $350
For the above reasons, a drone based seed dispersal system is an optimal solution for reforestation. The goal of this project is to create a seed dispersal system that is simple to 3d print, assemble and deploy. The design constraints are below–
- Cost less than $70
- Be able to be 3d-printed without using soluble supports .
- Take less than 5 minutes to assemble.
- Be able to carry 400g of medium-small sized seeds.
An augur such as the one pictured below in figure 1 (scaled down and horizontally oriented), would be powered by a motor and be able to very easily move the seeds out of a dispensing hole and drop the seeds onto the ground. The augur is superior to a trap hole as it does not provide opportunities for the mechanism to jam. A trap door is also not precise at all. the augur can be connected to a motor which is instructed to perform only a certain number of turns directly releasing a specific quantity of seeds at a specific rate. Which is ideal in this design application. More about the design process and the various iterations can be found in the process journal below.