Pet blimp? I think yes.


Image of Ollie around a group of students

"Ollie is a DIY autonomous robotic blimp who is vulnerable, socially awkward and yearns for attention."

Sometimes robots are kind of scary. Sometimes they’re a little ingenious. And sometimes they’re really agile and cool.

Other times, they’re cute.

A lady named Pritika Nilaratna, a New York resident and creative technology designer, made this flying blimp, which roams around inside buildings and acts cute. That’s its job: being socially awkward and flapping its wings excitedly when you talk to it. Slightly less nefarious than spying on you, for sure.

Blimps are cool because they’re lighter-than-air. That means staying aloft takes almost no energy, and moving takes a lot less. So Ollie runs on just a tiny battery.

The coolest thing about the Ollie design is that it’s released under the Creative Commons license. It’s not completely open-source, but it’s almost the same: use the design as you please and make whatever you want, so long as you give credit to the original creator, and also release it under the same license. Long story short: the design is free to use. Go buy a few parts and build your own. It’s basically just a mylar balloon, a battery and a couple motors. (links to the instructions and designs at the end of this post)

There’s only one thing it’s missing: a little speaker somewhere, so it can make some kind of sounds when it’s excited. Add those when you make it.

You can check out the website for Ollie, which is shown at the end of the video. Or you can just go to meandollie.com.


It’s called “Ollie the socially awkward autonomous blimp,”

Here are a couple resources for making your own version of this thing:

(Consider getting a bigger balloon, and adding one of these.)

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About Nick G

Nick has been a blogger since 2007 and is an English and Japanese major, though his roots are in engineering and the sciences. He tutors high school students in Math and English, and plans on becoming a Teacher. In his spare time Nick plays FPS, RTS and RPG computer games, Dungeons and Dragons (the tabletop version) and arcade dance games like DDR. He also likes reading sci-fi and fantasy novels, writing poetry and running. Nick plays drums for the band Tens and Twenties.
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One Response to Pet blimp? I think yes.

  1. Milinda says:

    Anytime you bring a smile to someones face is just a great thing. This is so simple and so cool. A pet blimp, nice. Sometime my dogs are more annoying than a pet. I’ll take the pet blimp some days for sure.

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