Design Problem

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.

Design Process

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.

Link Process Journal and Video