Showing posts with label aerial drones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aerial drones. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A bug's eye view, brought to you by a nano quadrotor drone.

What's better than a tiny drone that buzzes like a bee through offices and hallways? How about a tiny drone shielded with a 3D-printed frame, controlled by a Raspberry Pi base station, and equipped with a miniscule video camera and transmitter?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Building and flying an incredibly tiny quadrotor drone

At the National Science Foundation grant where I work, EnLiST, we've been tinkering with various different drone platforms which could be easily deployed in classrooms for valuable STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) lessons.

Although we're focused on STEM education, it's not hard to see how some of these drones can be used in a variety of other fields. The quadrotors we develop one day could be deployed for research in environmental science, geology, city planning, and even "evidence-based" journalism.

Drones are useful like that. At the end of they day, they're simply a means of getting a sensor from one place to another. What you use that sensor for, is entirely up to the teacher, scientist, or journalist.

We needed a drone that was small enough to fly in a classroom, easy enough for children to fly (not saying much as kids tend to pilot drones with relative ease), and hackable enough that we could mold it to fit our science curriculum.

Enter the Crazyflie nano, a tiny, open-source drone developed by Swedish hackers at At 19 grams, and measuring 9 cm from motor to motor, it's one of the smallest quadrotor drones on the market today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

World's most popular consumer drone gains autonomous flight

Since it was introduced in 2010, the AR.Drone has been a success among hobbyists, hackers, engineering students, drone journalists, activists, and aspiring UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) operators. Produced by the French wireless products manufacturer Parrot, this camera-enabled quadrotor can be controlled over WiFi via iOS or Android-enabled phones and tablets.

This has been the go-to item for many news organizations trying to understand the new world of UAS without a tremendous investment. The Sydney Herald recently used one to help bring context to their story about privacy concerns amidst the proliferation of "drones."

A news crew in Florida also tried using an AR.Drone to get a better view of a live event, but they were chased out of the sky by angry bees.

Since launch, it has sold over 300,000 units. That's ten times the number of UAS that the FAA anticipated would by flying in American airspace... by 2020.

A selling point of the RC aircraft from the beginning has been augmented reality dogfights with other AR.Drones, facilitated by on-board image recognition. Parrot recently unveiled another addition to the drone's list of AR abilities -- a GPS receiver.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Activists record 8N protest with drones, continue to take lead on drone coverage

Progress in covering large events with aerial drones, especially protests, has been led almost exclusively by political activists. The most recent effort by activists to use drones document the scale of anti-government demonstrations comes from Argentina, where the “8N” demonstration on Thursday, November 8.

That day, some 30,000 Argentinians protested economic conditions, government corruption and the fear that President Cristina Fernandez will attempt to end her term limit.

According to the group El Cipayo Argentino, the government had closed down the airspace ahead of the protest, and did not allow news helicopters to cover the event. So the group came up with a low-budget workaround: they built their own aerial drone to provide coverage from the sky.

As you can hear from the video, the camera attached to the drone picked up a great deal of propeller and motor noise. The fact that protestors can be heard above the din of the whirring motors speaks volumes.

Al Jazeera has a write up about the protest and the activists behind the drone here.