In 1953 when Marilyn Monroe swept across the silver screen in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes singing Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend, an ad franchise was born. Since then jewelers and diamond manufacturers have been toting the phrase to their advantage. Well move over ladies, diamonds are about to become someone else’s best friend. The line should now go, diamonds are a drone’s best friend thanks to LakeDiamond, a Swiss startup company.
Pascal Gallo, Theophile Mounier, Christophe Provent and David Rats officially founded LakeDiamond in 2015. Their goal, according to their website is “To create some of the best quality lab-grown diamonds in the world and exploit the power of their extraordinary properties. With the joint expertise of a group of extraordinary people: business developers and strategists, quantum physicists and computer scientists, blockchain and crypto professionals, and experts in diamond growth, photonics and electronics.” Now, their research and applications are being applied to drone technology.
One of the biggest issues all drones and their operators face is battery life. Finding a way to build a drone that is proportionate in size to the battery needed to support it is hard. The bigger the drone, the bigger the battery needs to be, then a bigger drone needs to be built to support the weight of the battery and the cycle begins again. This is why most drones are very limited on how long they fly for. The battery expectancy for most drones provides a flight time of 20-45 minutes before needing to land to be recharged. The recharging process can often take a few hours to complete.
Scientist and engineers have been toying with the idea of using laser beams to recharge a drone’s battery while it is still in flight. The idea is that a laser beam can be shot up to a flying drone with specific charging panels on it. The laser beam will be able to provide a full charge to the drone, enabling it to fly for greater times and distances. It seems that the collaborative team at LakeDiamond has come up with a successful model for doing this.
The Swiss Space Office has awarded them a grant for the next two years to see the project brought to fruition. Because of the diamonds grown in their labs, they are able to control the projection of a laser beam with the right amount of accuracy and energy. The beam, powered by a tiny diamond, is aimed at the photovoltaic cells on a drone while still being safe to the people using it. The photovoltaic cells then convert the energy from the laser beam instantly to power the drone’s battery.
Similar devices are already being used by military organizations. However, the lasers they are using are extremely powerful and can pose great health risks to humans. They need to be used in restricted environments. LakeDiamond’s diamond powered laser beam emits a beam that is safe to use around people, making it ideal for civilian drone operators. According to the company, “This system poses no threat to human health since LakeDiamond’s laser emits a wavelength that cannot damage human skin or eyes – the issue of safety being paramount if the system is to be used with civilian drones. This technology could also be used to transmit both power and data to satellites.”
If you want to buy a stunning diamond for a piece of jewelry, LakeDiamond can grow one for you. But after fifteen years of research they have proven that diamonds can be so much more than just a girl’s best friend. They can be used to power one of the biggest technological advancements of our society today.