Can’t wait to get your hands on a MeCam flying camera in 2014? You might be able to build your own… or something even cooler, using the Crazyflie Nano quadcopter development kit.
You can pre-order one now for $173, and kits are expected to start shipping April 25th, 2013.
The kit features a flying machine with a motor, battery, four propellers, sensors a wireless radio and more — with some assembly required. The platform is open, so not only is the firmware source code available for viewing and modifying, but the hardware schematics are also available.
You can use a standard microUSB cable to charge the battery, a PS3 compatible joystick to control the machine. there are sensors for detecting altitude and heading — but there’s currently no software to support those sensors. This is a developer kit after all, so the idea is to get the hardware into the hands of folks who can write software to make it more useful.
The kit can be connected to a PC for programming, and it supports Windows and Linux.
The Crazyflie Nano is a tiny, light-weight quadcopter that weighs just 19 grams (about 2/3rds of an ounce) and which can lift items of 5 to 10 grams… if you happen to have any extremely light-weight items you need to transport.
Unfortunately the included 170mAh battery only provides enough power to fly the Crazyflie Nano for about 7 minutes… which I understand is about par for the course with this sort of device. The good news is that it takes just about 20 minutes to fully recharge the battery.
While the upcoming MeCAM is expected to sell for less than a third the price of the Crazyflie Nano, this open source dev kit will be available first and it could be a much more versatile solution for folks looking to assemble and program their own tiny flying machines.
via Hacker News
Wow! I you add on inductive charging and real time positioning then three of these would be enough to always have one autonomously in the air in an indoor environment.
Seeing it in action has captured my imagination, but the technical limitations still make it a somewhat niche item at the moment IMO.
Still, it is INCREDIBLE.
You could buy a Walkera Ladybird now for well under $100.00 on Amazon or eBay. That would give you a lot of practice time before one of these other quads are available.
I really like this, but since I am not a developer I am not sure how much utility I would get out of it. I am more of a geeky early adopter than a DIY sort of guy.
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