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Dyson Engineers Trade Vacuums For Flying Machines

Using only parts it manufactures, the company challenged its employees to build remote-controlled drones that could complete an obstacle course. Hilarity (and genius) ensued.

Dyson Engineers Trade Vacuums For Flying Machines

The flying machines ran the gamut. Drone-style quadcopters had a strong showing, which isn’t a surprise considering their code is widely available in hobbyist and enthusiast spheres. The more daring teams went with aeronautical novelties like the wing-flapping ornithopter (which we’re admittedly partial to), a finned-wing design that looked like a boogie board with a propeller strapped to the front, and even a gas balloon.

Many of the designs defied easy description—like this helicopter-format tri-rotor drone.

Some of the designs seemed outright silly, especially compared to the competition.

But it was clear that a lot of thought went into developing legitimately airworthy machines out of extant Dyson parts and materials.

Even the obstacle course was made of Dyson parts.

The goal: to get these aerial wonders around an obstacle course without encountering hazards or popping varying degrees of success.

We’ve entertained Dyson innovation before, but mostly for cleaning up coffee grounds. Here, Sir James Dyson talks about problem solving, and the anatomy of one of his newest machines.