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Lighter-Than-Air Postal Service

March 2003

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the blimp in flight

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Some folks rely on interoffice mail. Some hand-deliver documents. Not HP Labs Researcher Josh Tyler. He uses a blimp.

"If you, like me, are tired of having to manually deliver documents or other items within your office building," says Tyler, "then you will inevitably reach the same conclusion I have: An automatic helium blimp delivery service."

Tyler, who spends most of his day investigating such topics as e-mail networks and communities of practice in email (see Nature news item), built the radio-controlled device in his spare time at nights and on weekends.

He figured the HP Labs environment, with its high ceilings, good lighting and typical Silicon Valley cubicle setup, would be ideal for blimp navigation. Although he ran into some problems with the weight of the paper (a typical sheet of paper was too heavy) and air currents, he got the blimp working, using it to deliver post-it notes to his manager and friend, Bernardo Huberman.

To learn more about Josh's blimp or to see a video demonstration, go here.

- Jamie Beckett


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Joshua Tyler with the blimp
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