Prism specialises in making kites that are easy to deploy, and fly. I have quite a few kites, and even one or two are more complicated than I care to figure out very often. Prism kites pretty much spring into form, and are ready to fly.
In the early 1900s telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell became interested in kite building as part of his research into powered flight. He focused in kites made of tetrahedron cells.
Bell built tetrahedral cells with 10-inch spruce rods, with two sides of each pyramidal polygon covered in crimson silk, weighing about an ounce in total. Creating compound assemblies of these pyramid-shaped cells, with shared joints and spars, allowed Bell to scale up his designs without increasing the weight-to-surface area ratio.
Bell’s largest tetrahedral design, the “Cygnet,” was composed of 3,393 cells. It successfully flew and carried a human passenger when towed behind a steamship, but was destroyed on landing.
That passenger, U.S. Army Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge, would later become the first person to die in a powered airplane flight as a passenger on a Wright Brothers invention.
By the way, Mashable has a bunch of great photos of Bell's kites. They are licensed by National Geographic, which charges over $700 per photo to run on the web:
I don't get it. If these photos are from the early 1900s, shouldn't they be in the public domain now? Read the rest
This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai.
When we had our epic fun day at the beach recently, I brought along a kite and a homemade kite aerial videography rig.
I attached a tiny $10 "car key fob" video camera to a simple picavet rig. This is a nifty little gadget that keeps the video camera pointed in the same angle relative to the Earth even while the kite line's angle is changing (it also prevents the camera from spinning around). I referred to this handy kite aerial photography site to figure out how the picavet's strings are threaded.
Instead of making a cross-shaped picavet frame, I used a square of ¼" plywood and drilled 4 holes through it so it wouldn't be buffeted by wind gusts. I threaded the string through 4 small eye screws and a washer. I learned the hard way that it's important to use pliers to squeeze shut any gaps in the eye screws because the string will try as hard as it can to free itself and ruin the functionality of the picavet (I blame it on resistentialism).
Here's a video of my first (and, so far, only) kite video experience. The video was very choppy because the picavet became unstrung before I had a chance to start taking video. I slowed the video way down because the camera was swinging like crazy. Hopefully, the next video will be better!
Epic Fun Day at the Beach Read the rest