This summer I am working with other members of LEMUR on the FORAY project where we are developing a fleet of LTAVs (lighter-than-air vehicles) with a design emphasis on speed and agility that can compete in a game of aerial soccer or Quidditch.

Below is the overal structure of the different aspects that need to be researched to create a blimp design system:

The past week, I have been looking into the best way to implement wireless communication between the different blimps because we are planning on developing a model where blimps send data from their camera modules to a remote computer which interprets the data and sends back data on how that blimp should adjust its motor speeds.

While doing research I discovered the existence of Xbee modules which send RF (radio frequency) signals and communicate via the Zigbee protocol. After looking into it more, Xbee modules are also capable of mesh networking which is ideal for FORAY's use case because RF signals bounce off of metal objects which is what all the blimps in the competition will be made up of. Mesh networking enables all blimps and the computer in the system to send and receive data which mitigates the need for all the blimps to be in the direct line of sight to receive data from the computer.

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