Jones Up Close

Rocket Science


A satellite campus accelerates innovation through partnership with industry
1

The drone flight cage at Northeastern University's Innovation Campus at Burlington, Massachusetts (ICBM) provides lab space for testing and research of drone technology. This is only one of a suite of resources on the ICBM campus focused on advancing technology, and ways in which the University can partner with industry, government, and academia on new ways to power, protect, connect, and transform our world. Let's look UP CLOSE at this space.

2

The entire space is lined with these pyramidal foam shapes, measuring 16" deep. This creates an anechoic chamber (an-echoic meaning "non reflective"), designed to stop reflections of sound and electromagnetic waves. A person (or drone in this case) only hears direct sounds, no reflected sounds.

3

Behind the anechoic panels, the entire space is lined with a copper mesh Faraday cage to block electromagnetic fields from entering the flight lab. Michael Faraday invented cages such as this in 1836 after observing that the excess charge on a charged conductor resided only on the exterior and had no influence on anything contained within. Faraday's research was standing on the shoulders of Benjamin Franklin, and Jean-Antoine Nollet almost 80 years prior.

4

The floor panels are reconfigurable to allow researchers to access the lab on raised walkways, and to support various kinds of tests and research. This reminded us of "acqua alta" in Venice, as you pick yourself across the plaza on scaffolded walkways, avoiding the water on either side.

5

Reflected ceiling plans are always critical to our designs (they are 50% of the horizontal surface in a building after all!), but nowhere more important than in a lab space. Building services and systems integral to the success of the research need to be carefully coordinated. The ceiling has the anechoic panel and Faraday cage. Additionally, there are recessed sprinkler heads that deploy 18" down in case of fire (wouldn't want those exposed to a stray drone in flight!).

6

In this case, a fiberglass unistrut grid is available as pick points or supporting grid for specific research or tests. A perforated cable tray carries power and data throughout the lab as well.

7

The space is lined with high speed cameras that can capture the drones in flight...

... to document research and testing.

8

The slab below has anchor points designed to resist uplift such that larger drones in flight can be secured to the slab. This allows researchers to conduct experiments while protecting the space (and themselves) if something were to go wrong.

9

Out of frame to the left of this image are large bay doors that open to an outdoor flight cage measuring 100'x200'x60' suitable for open air testing and research.

10

The light streams here capture several drones in flight during testing. This is a bright moment of design for us. Finding solutions that support the specific needs of the program is instrumental to all of our projects, and in lab projects can mean the difference between failure and success.

Rocket Science


Design • At Your Service

Photography by William Horne

Jones Up Close

Rocket Science


A satellite campus accelerates innovation through partnership with industry

1

The drone flight cage at Northeastern University's Innovation Campus at Burlington, Massachusetts (ICBM) provides lab space for testing and research of drone technology. This is only one of a suite of resources on the ICBM campus focused on advancing technology, and ways in which the University can partner with industry, government, and academia on new ways to power, protect, connect, and transform our world. Let's look UP CLOSE at this space.

2

The entire space is lined with these pyramidal foam shapes, measuring 16" deep. This creates an anechoic chamber (an-echoic meaning "non reflective"), designed to stop reflections of sound and electromagnetic waves. A person (or drone in this case) only hears direct sounds, no reflected sounds.

3

Behind the anechoic panels, the entire space is lined with a copper mesh Faraday cage to block electromagnetic fields from entering the flight lab. Michael Faraday invented cages such as this in 1836 after observing that the excess charge on a charged conductor resided only on the exterior and had no influence on anything contained within. Faraday's research was standing on the shoulders of Benjamin Franklin, and Jean-Antoine Nollet almost 80 years prior.

4

The floor panels are reconfigurable to allow researchers to access the lab on raised walkways, and to support various kinds of tests and research. This reminded us of "acqua alta" in Venice, as you pick yourself across the plaza on scaffolded walkways, avoiding the water on either side.

5

Reflected ceiling plans are always critical to our designs (they are 50% of the horizontal surface in a building after all!), but nowhere more important than in a lab space. Building services and systems integral to the success of the research need to be carefully coordinated. The ceiling has the anechoic panel and Faraday cage. Additionally, there are recessed sprinkler heads that deploy 18" down in case of fire (wouldn't want those exposed to a stray drone in flight!).

6

In this case, a fiberglass unistrut grid is available as pick points or supporting grid for specific research or tests. A perforated cable tray carries power and data throughout the lab as well.

7

The space is lined with high speed cameras that can capture the drones in flight...

...to document research and testing.

8

The slab below has anchor points designed to resist uplift such that larger drones in flight can be secured to the slab. This allows researchers to conduct experiments while protecting the space (and themselves) if something were to go wrong.

9

Out of frame to the left of this image are large bay doors that open to an outdoor flight cage measuring 100'x200'x60' suitable for open air testing and research.

10

The light streams here capture several drones in flight during testing. This is a bright moment of design for us. Finding solutions that support the specific needs of the program is instrumental to all of our projects, and in lab projects can mean the difference between failure and success.

Jones Up Close

Rocket Science


Design • At Your Service

Photography by William Horne