connectivity matters
November 5, 2019  |  Written by

The DX2—Rajant’s Smallest, Lightest BreadCrumb® Takes Flight

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a drone! It’s the DX2!

Yes, that little blue node is Rajant’s newest BreadCrumb, the DX2. It is lighter than a cellphone, more adaptable than most nodes, and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand—making it already in great demand by Rajant’s military and commercial customers alike.

This latest BreadCrumb, the DX2, is Rajant’s smallest and lightest wireless device, that forms a mesh network when used with other BreadCrumb systems. Encased in magnesium, it weighs 123g with a MIMO-antenna system and is designed for private wireless networks on lightweight autonomous vehicles. Its small footprint and very low payload weight make it ideal for drone swarms, small robots, remote CCTV, telematics monitoring, and more.

What makes the DX2 particularly extraordinary is its powerful punch in such a small packaging. Key features include its mobility, adaptability, lightweight, portable, pocketsize, one transceiver, two external antenna ports, and Ethernet and Wi-Fi Access Point interfaces to enable data, voice, and video applications.

So how did the idea and design for the petite blue BreadCrumb come about? Rajant’s VP of Systems Don Gilbreath and brainchild of the DX2 explains.

“Drones were a logical place for our InstaMesh® technology, in both swarms and tethered communications. What we ran into as we built up our drone expertise is the world tends to use very small drones for their R&D and Rajant did not have a radio to accommodate. We had no other choice but to build a small, highly efficient BreadCrumb that would be able to be put on small vehicles so the DX2 is the current output from that.”

Gilbreath and the engineers at Rajant took on the challenge to design the first prototypes of the DX2 with the goal of building an exoskeleton for the electronics to minimize weight and size. Initial concepts progressed to schematics. Schematics advanced to prototypes. The end result was a casework looking quite different than the normal Rajant equipment.

“We focused the design for the DX2 to meet the needs of our aerial drone customers,” stated Joe Parks, Senior Software Developer at Rajant and the project manager for the DX2. “We made it as small and lightweight as we can without compromising on performance. Its wireless throughput is actually a bit faster than our other products, and it has what it takes to handle large swarm operations with video streaming. That’s a skill set that is hard to match with any other radio that size.”

“One design challenge was to spread heat form our CPU and radios while providing mounting options and airflow,” noted Gilbreath. “We utilized magnesium for the material for the body and matched the paint to the Rajant blue.”

Parks added, “What you do not get from the DX2 that is available in other Rajant models is an IP67 rating against moisture penetration and a second radio transceiver for multi-channel operation. But if those factors are not critical to your application—and size, weight, and performance are—then this is the model for you.”

The first field testing was mounting the DX2 to more than 20 drones and flying the drones in swarm. With a thumbs up, the drones lifted off with Rajant’s littlest wireless network nodes attached and flew the mission with success.

Gilbreath continued. “A true swarm to us implies fully distributed communications meets fully distributed computing. Even with our FAA waivers, we still had to operate on a military base as there were no pilots for this application test.”

Since last summer, Rajant has received interest from all our other robotic partners spanning land, air, and sea applications. Because of the smaller form factor of the DX2, Rajant has successfully tested the DX2 with skydivers with “Paramesh”, and more recently, on horses in a new project called “Pony Mesh.” The radios and antennas are part of the saddle pad providing heart-rate and all other physics of a horse in real-time with a stabilized camera mounted to the equine bridle.

In addition to Paramesh and Pony Mesh, Rajant’s CEO Bob Schena sees “Camel Mesh” and even “Falcon Mesh” as future possibilities down the line.

So, the next time you see a drone flying high in the sky, stop to take a closer look. It very well may have Rajant’s newest BreadCrumb the DX2 enabling the communications. 🖉

To place an order or learn more about the DX2, contact a Rajant representative.

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