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A Quadcopter Development Platform (Video)

Roblimo posted about 6 months ago | from the up-up-and-away-in-my-beautiful-quadcopter dept.

Technology 30

Not everybody at a Maker Fair (or even Faire) is there to get kickstarted or to make a billion of whatever it is they're displaying. Ned Danyliw is one of the non-kickstarter people: an electrical engineering student displaying a quadcopter development platform he hopes can bring the cost of a quadcopter prototype down to $50 or so, or about the same price as a toy quadcopter. You can follow Ned's work step by step and see all the code at his blog, Burnt Transistors. (Alternate Video Link)

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Hey idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47216793)

It's called Hobby King.

Re:Hey idiot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47217087)

Jesus Christ, I just whacked out that comment without even looking at his site, but how in the hell is that a "development platform"?? Who the hell makes hardware anymore in the West? Are you on drugs?

Just spend half an hour browsing Hobby King or Hobby Hobby. None of this waiting/tweaking 3D nonsense (melting off the wax? For real? The most work I do is figuring out if the mailing pouch from China goes into the recycling bin or the regular trash)

You make and assemble your own PCBs? You're a Luddite if you don't get that this is a '70s hobby.

You're a buggy whip maker in the era of cars. "But but but I can make my own buggy whip without waiting for someone else to make one!"

WHO THE FUCK CARES?

There is simply no way you can compete with the online offerings.

Unless you're a myopic masochist... Oh, he is a EE student?

That explains it.

The hobby world is so far beyond this it's not even funny. You can probably just walk to your local mall (for Americans: gun-drive to your WalMart) and find 3 RC toys for 50$ that will do better than this.

But but but it's a learning experience!! So is going to jail, so what?

Re: Hey idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47218079)

I read your comment and all I was left with was "what an insolate prick!".

Please go be an asshat on your own time.

Re: Hey idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47218955)

"insolate"? Like, a sunburn?

I'm trying to help people here. Save time and money and get to the final product.

Look, I remember spending *tons* of money 20 years ago on a 4 channel Futaba FM transmitter and an alcohol-powered RC plane. It was expensive, it was a hassle, it was noisy, big, dirty, expensive and dangerous.

Now you can just buy a quadcopter from Hong Kong with lots of goodies for 50$.

Why waste time on carving and whittling?

You can use that spare time I saved you to learn to spell.

Re:Hey idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47218289)

Herp. Derp.

Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (4, Funny)

Trachman (3499895) | about 6 months ago | (#47216905)

Just wait a little bit. I can smell that very soon there will be initiatives to regulate drones in the same way they want to regulate 3D printers For those who have not seen here is the link with impressive drone model, all DIY, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#47217011)

Of course they will, once someone builds a killer anti-personnel quadcopter. Every modelmaker will be labeled a terrorist by then.

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#47217201)

Toys [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47219067)

The problem is that the curretn designs fit in the "killer" category, throguh deliberate negligence. Every other digital fly by wire airplane has triple-string redundant flight control computers and dual-redundant actuators on redundant flight control surfaces. These RC toys are nowhere close to being able to meet any rational safety standards, and should not be flown near people.

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (1)

bluescrn (2120492) | about 6 months ago | (#47220579)

RC planes and helis have been around for decades. Small microcontroller kits and GPS modules have been around for years.

Yet we've not seen this tech used as a weapon. Why? - because an amateur drone is a rather fiddly, unreliable, and failure-prone method or carrying out any sort of attack, compared to the simplicity and much higher payload capacity of a suicide bomber or car/truck bomb.

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#47221357)

I was thinking more about assassinations than about mass killings. You don't need a huge payload for that. A gram or two of a skin-absorbed poison (perhaps nicotine sulfate?) is all you'd need. A few incidents like that and watch the governments cracking down on airborne systems of any kind.

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 6 months ago | (#47217297)

...

They've been regulated since before they existed. The FAA already handles them, just like RC airplanes they've handled for the last 50-60 years.

And for reference:

http://ardupilot.com/ [ardupilot.com]

They aren't going to bring the price down to $50 until the sensors are $1 each. Considering a quality GPS still costs > $50, as do a set of gyros or a set of accelerometers that are high enough quality to be useful, this is a year or two off still.

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (1)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | about 6 months ago | (#47218829)

Actually, they are *not* regulated -- and that's the big problem right now.

From the FAA's perspective, there are no regulations pertaining to RC model aircraft -- only guidlines.

This is why the courts overturned a $10,000 fine levied against Raphael Pirker by the FAA -- because there are no regulations to back up that penalty.

The FAA are scrambling to come up with some regulations but, until then, they are hoist by their own petard (or lack of work in this area).

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47219051)

No, Not at all true. There are operational regulations on hobby RC aircraft. There are not hardware restrictions. The "loophole" the judge created to get Pinker out of the fine was corrected long before the judge overturned it, and that is sbeing appealed by the FAA. You may not fly RC aircraft commercialy, above 500' AGL, in controlled airspace, or beyond line of sight without a COA from the FAA.

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (1)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | about 6 months ago | (#47220267)

Please cite the FAA regulations that state this.

I think you'll only find an *advisory* which has no legal standing.

Re:Wait. Drone diy kits will be banned (2)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | about 6 months ago | (#47221471)

They aren't going to bring the price down to $50 until the sensors are $1 each. Considering a quality GPS still costs > $50, as do a set of gyros or a set of accelerometers that are high enough quality to be useful, this is a year or two off still.

I watched the video yesterday and I'm not re-watching it, but did Danyliw's quad even have GPS? Because if not, you can already get a decent Micro Quad for about $50 [hobbyking.com] that's built out of a PCB. Granted, it doesn't have GPS and can't fly autonomously, but it is a standards-compatible and hackable quad at the $50ish price point.

His (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47217069)

elbows are too pointy.

So it's like this one (1)

TheDayOfMe (808363) | about 6 months ago | (#47217363)

Turnigy Micro-X. [hobbyking.com]
It's designed to be hacked, has 6050 MPU and 328P Atmel processor and built-in DSM2 receiver. It comes with the open source multiwii software, I'm sure the other arduino based ones work just as well.

The nRF24 sounds neat.

Re:So it's like this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47217481)

But but but then I don't get to spend weeks and hundreds of dollars and stink up the kitchen with the amazing new 3D PRINTERRRRRRR!!!!!!!!

Re:So it's like this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47219403)

Once upon a time slashdot was a place to find new things nerd. Now meh.

Re:So it's like this one (1)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | about 6 months ago | (#47221509)

This is true. There is nothing new about Danyliw's project other than the 3D printing aspect of it.

That being said, I think it is a super cool project that he's doing, especially for an undergrad. He'll learn a ton from it, and will probably go on to do great things.

Platforms, frameworks, etcetera (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 6 months ago | (#47217429)

If the term "platform" is even slightly comparable to "framework", it is time to run.

Faire (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47217737)

I'm just whining, but personally I really dislike the "Faire" name a lot of people use. I think it turns people away from going to these events..

When I see that spelling, I think of things like people who are in to "faeries" and "magick" and SCA members and other such niches. It doesn't sound at all like "People showing off cool stuff they've built", and I wish people would stop spelling it that way.

Re: Faire (1)

Trinn (523103) | about 6 months ago | (#47220819)

Some of us are into both and find people like the parent poster to be a real part of the problem.

makers love reinventing the wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47218145)

"quadcopter development platform he hopes can bring the cost of a quadcopter prototype down to $50 or so, or about the same price as a toy quadcopter."

Cool, he hopes to repeat what 50 companies in China can do. Why not just buy a toy copter and hack it with GPS, acrobatics, etc...

Really, instead of that and re-discovering what it takes to make a cheap quadcopter, he should be hacking it. We are heading towards a reality where hackers and makers don't intersect and when they do, it's going to get ugly.

The most fun you can have with one of these (1)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | about 6 months ago | (#47218903)

Forget about aerial video and photography with these "drones" -- the most fun you can have with one of these multi-rotor craft is this:

FPV racing [youtube.com]

These are tiny multirotor craft fitted with FPV (first person view) video gear and flown around a course (which can be as simple as a few trees in a field).

Stunningly good fun and a real adrenaline buzz -- without all the privacy and safety issues that "droners" create with their DJI Phantoms and other consumer-grade multirotors.

Just Google/Youtube for "mini H quad" and you'll find much more

Why the quadcopter obsession? (1)

walshy007 (906710) | about 6 months ago | (#47219791)

Why not just build an RC helicopter sizable enough to do what you want?

You want automation? It can be done on an rc helicopter too.

I just don't see the point of having a bunch of weak motors as opposed to a single strong one with control of thrust via cyclic and collective pitch controls on the blades.

Re:Why the quadcopter obsession? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47220303)

Physics and agility. Quads, particularly those with V-tails and variable pitch arms, are much more agile than a helicopter, and can carry more weight in a stable fashion. They also have less vibration, and are mechanically far simpler than a heli. Octocopters make ideal stable flight platforms for larger cameras due to their position locking and overlapping planes of thrust.

If you have any doubts, compare the Penn State quad demos where small objects are tossed and caught by groups of quads. You could never do that with helis.

The technology to have quads, hexes and octos only recently became affordable and advanced enough - but now that it is here, it is helis that are likely to vanish, not quads.

Re:Why the quadcopter obsession? (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 6 months ago | (#47220959)

If you don't think RC helis are agile, you've not seen what Alan Szabo does with them.

Re:Why the quadcopter obsession? (1)

hawk (1151) | about 6 months ago | (#47227203)

I don't care *how* it flies so long as I can have it chase anything larger than a hummingbird, yet smaller than a cat, that moves.

@*#(*^% air rats eating my seeds, berries, and other fruit. Go at them while emitting raptor cries . . .

hawk

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