Archive / May, 2015

The Folding Quadcopter That Fits in Your Pocket

This little quadcopter will fit in the palm of your hand when folded.

Inspired by origami, the folding drone developed by a team at EPFL and NCCR Robotics unfurls and takes off in a third of a second. The moment it is turned on, the rotors engage, the articulated arms extend and the drone begins moving. This eager device could be quickly released in large numbers over a disaster zone in order to bring back photos and establish contact with people in need.


Krossblade SkyProwler VTOL Transformer UAV

Another drone Kickstarter campaign, but this looks pretty cool…

SkyProwler is a Professional-Grade High-Performance Multi-Mission Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Transformer UAV/Drone. It takes off like a multicopter, picks up speed using its high-powered thrusters, and then transitions to cruise flight on its high-speed wings. The multirotor take-off mechanism folds away in-flight giving SkyProwler super efficient aerodynamics and hence speed, endurance and range far better than pure copters and on-par with pure airplanes.

Boat Drone Scans Lake and Sea Beds [ArduBoat]

[Geir] has created a pretty neat device, it’s actually his second version of an autonomous boat that maps the depths of lakes and ponds. He calls it the Sea Rendering. The project is pretty serious as the hull was specially made of fiberglass. The propulsion is a simple DC motor and the rudder is powered by an RC servo. A light and flag adorn the top deck making the small craft visible to other larger boats that may be passing by. Seven batteries are responsible for all of the power requirements.

The craft’s course is pre-programmed in Mission Planner and uses ArduPilot loaded on an Arduino to steer to the defined way points. An onboard GPS module determines the position of the boat while a transducer measures the depth of the water. Both position and depth values are then saved to an SD card. Those values can later be imported into a software called Dr Depth that generates a topographic map of the water-covered floor.

[Geir] has sent this bad boy out on an 18 km journey passing through 337 way points. That’s pretty impressive! He estimates that the expected run time is 24 hours at a top speed of 3 km/h, meaning it could potentially travel 72 km on a single charge while taking 700 depth measurements during the voyage.

Read more here.

5 Quadcopters to Learn on That Won’t Breaking the Bank… or Your Face

What’s the best quad to learn on? Simple: a cheap one. You’re going to crash it so the cheaper the better. Small quads are great for learning because they’re usually cheap to repair, they tend to bounce back and more importantly, they won’t damage people or property any where near as much as a larger one will.

Trust me, I made the mistake of buying a larger expensive quad when I first started. Spent hours and $$$ rebuilding and repairing it until I finally decided to buy a little one I could fly indoors to build my skills on.

Here are some affordable multirotors that you can cut your teeth on without cutting your fingers off.

1. The BLADE Nano QX RTF Quadcopter. Around $100 and available on Amazon.


2. EZ Fly 101S Flipside Quadcopter. $60 from Amazon.


3. BLADE 180 QX HD BNF Quadcopter


4. Hubsan X4 H107CHD 2.4GHz 4CH RC Quadcopter with HD Camera


5. Parrot BeBop Drone 14 MP Full HD 1080p Fisheye Camera Quadcopter


CHIP – the $9 Computer More Powerful than a Raspbery Pi

Meet Chip: a new computer perfect for tinkerers that’s cheaper and more powerful than a Raspberry Pi B+.

For just $9, you get a pocket-sized board with a 1GHz processor with WiFi and Bluetooth, 4 GB storage and 512 MB RAM. Chip can also work with any screen, new or old.

You could, of course, use it — along with LibreOffice — to do your taxes or write that novel you keep talking about. Or you could play video games with it. (There’s even an option to buy Chip with a pocket-sized screen and keyboard system.) But we see it as a platform for all kinds of homemade electronics projects.

You can pre-order Chip online, via the Kickstarter campaign.

World’s First Hydrogen Powered 4H-Endurance Multi-Rotor UAV


HYCOPTER is the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered multi-rotor UAV. HYCOPTER is being readied for a record flight endurance of 4 hours, or 6 times the average flight duration of equivalent systems today.

Unlike any other rotorcraft, HYCOPTER makes use of its frame structure to store energy in the form of hydrogen instead of air, eliminating energy storage weight. With less lift power required, HYCOPTER’s ultra-light fuel cell turns the hydrogen in its frame into electricity to power its rotors.

With HUS’ breakthrough technology, today’s 20-30 minute multi-rotor missions shift to a new paradigm with flights lasting several hours at a time. Aerial survey jobs will become materially cheaper/faster and drone delivery over longer distances, more feasible.