Rethinking Personal Drone Design Yields Awesome Performance (Video)

CyPhy LVL 1 Drone in action YouTube

Drone popularity has skyrocketed. If you don’t already have one, then odds are quite good that you know someone that has a drone. Unfortunately, the low cost entry level drones leave a lot to be desired. It’s very difficult to get acceptable video quality from a low cost drone. Getting stable video typically, at least in the past, required adding a multi-axis gimbal. This is particularly true for the common quadcopter configuration because the drone body has to tilt in order for it to change horizontal direction, like moving forward. Thankfully, all that is about to change radically.

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Massive Robot Band Entertains at Maker Faire Paris 2015 (Video)

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Over the past decade, the Maker Movement has spread across the globe and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, even for an instant. Maker Faire events are currently staged world wide, with 131 taking place during 2014 in places as far afield as Norway, Mexico, Japan, and China. Of course, not all the events draw massive attendance like the 100,000 makers and maker fans that jam pack the World Maker Faire in New York City every Fall.

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Chiba University Drone System Used to Monitor Hazardous Volcanic Activity

Chiba university drone

One of the many multicopter drone systems developed by the Autonomous Control System Institute at Chiba University is being used to monitor the recent volcanic activity near Mt. Fuji in Japan.

The Owakudani area near Hakone, a popular resort area close to Mt. Fuji, has been closed to tourist and even local workers, due to increased volcanic tremors indicating the possibility of earth movement or venting. The authorities have issued orders restricting travel into the hazardous area. However, scientist have been able to effectively monitor activity in the area utilizing a multicopter drone system from Chiba University.

The drone, which provides real time video feedback from a multitude of vantage points and angles, can also carry other sensors and instrumentation. The TBS news website report (in Japanese) also includes a short video showing the drone in action as well as a description of its operation. 

Related links: TBS News - Drone Monitoring with video #robotsdreams
More information at Robots Dreams

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STEM Learning Humanoid Robot Kit Featured on the Cover of ROBOT Magazine

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The latest issue of ROBOT Magazine, on newsstands within the next week or sooner, features a major review of the ROBOTIS-MINI humanoid robot kit, including all the specifications, in’s and out’s, close up photos, and the background on why this robot kit is a great choice for anyone that wants to get involved with humanoids or wants to stimulate young learners about STEM.

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Prep Work For MakerCon and Maker Faire Media Coverage

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Labeling batteries, chargers, and other gear as I get ready for next week’s MakerCon and Bay Area Maker Faire events.

With close to 100,000 people expected to attend the Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, it’s going to be a total zoo bordering on chaos. Capturing the right photos and videos in the heat of the moment is a major challenge, but there are some simple things you can do in advance to improve your odds of success.

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Hands-on With The SYMA X5C-1 Explorer Quad-Copter (Video)

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People seriously interested in getting involved with personal drones would be well advised to bring money. To get reasonable performance, quality photos and video, and an easy to use interface, it’s not unusual to spend from USD$700 up to several thousand or more. But, if you just want to dip your toe in the water and get a feel for what the drone craze is all about, Syma X5C-1 Explorer Quad Copter could be an excellent choice. And, typically priced at less than USD$70, the X5C-1 is cheap enough that you won’t be heartbroken if it unexpectedly crashes or drops and sinks into a lake. 

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