B.B.L.EM.P stands for Back-up Bio-fuel Landing Emergency Pilot
One of our teammates was particularly inspired by this topic because she has family that currently still live in Puerto Rico, that was just devastated by hurricanes, as well as a passion in biomimicry. A concept that also used hydrogenases, by Vincent Callebaut, served as an inspiration of how to implement our much smaller biofarm for power.
What it does
This is a medium sized (15ft) blimp like construction. The interior of the B.B.L.EM.P has computer and radio components as well as a small "farm" for bio-fueled power and exterior solar panels. The small computer set up provides an internet connection through Ad Hoc or possibly WiFi Direct as it becoming more prevalent and stronger. The B.B.L.EM.Ps also have radio transmitters and receivers that help boost the WiFi connectivity as well as an added use of some cell service. The B.B.L.EM.Ps are air dropped over disaster areas and can be deployed immediately after the storm or quake has subsided. They will be dispersed in a pattern that creates a temporary grid over the affected area so they can communicate with others in hard to reach places as well as the outside world.
How we built it
The prototype in our presentation today is a cardboard skeleton of the shape of B.B.L.EM.P covered in fabric. It is held up by an aluminium rod tied around a weight. It is 8in in height and 15in in length, so every inch of the model equals a foot in full scale.
Challenges we ran into
We faced a couple problems. First was figuring out how to actual provide the connection which was quickly solved by discovering one could make a standalone Ad Hoc computer light enough to be carried in a blimp. Another issue was the fact that wifi itself has a very short range so we either would have to deploy a lot of blimps or only small areas would have connection. An issue solved by the addition of the radio antenna and transmitter + receiver. A personal challenge faced in our group was starting out with 4 people on Friday but by Saturday afternoon we were down to only the two of us but the workload was easily split and we changed our plan to fit the skill set we both had.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
This was the first time Lakaya, the industrial designer, did a 3D model without prior measurements or reference in Solidworks.
What we learned
Building the prototype we discovered fabric isn't easy to pick up and use and it requires more practicing and understanding of implementing the material to have it fit successfully. We also learned how effective hydrogen bio-fuel can be in power.