MultiRotors and Robotics – an Interesting Combination

I recently spotted the newest quadruped robot under development by Boston Dynamics and it reminded me of a little robotic quadcopter a friend had recently shown me (see video below). For those of you unfamiliar with Boston Dynamics, they are funded by DARPA and seem to be doing some of the most advanced research and development work in the realm of robotics. If you haven’t seen one of their mechanical monsters at work, you will be shocked the first time you witness one in action. The clip above demonstrates one of the latest model in their series of 4 legged robots – it’s called the WildCat. This machine is capable of bounding and galloping strides and has reached a speed of 16mph – remarkable considering how large it is.

In the future I am sure we’ll see some melding between the worlds of robotics and MultiRotors. Practically speaking, I think it is essential to integrate robotics if MultiRotors are to be used for utility purposes such as lifting objects or performing more complicated tasks like repairs. We’ll see where it goes from here and possibly even take part in some of the future development! One thing is for sure – things are going to start to get really interesting in the next few years. Strap a huge quadcopter to the back of that WildCat and look out! For now what we have for you to see is a small quadcopter outfitted with folding mechanized arms and 4 legs it can sort of walk around on. Not very useful, and a grossly inefficient tradeoff between additional weight as it applies to increased functionality. This is how ideas start though, so hat’s off to the designer of this little quadcopter:

Ricky Gervais on How He Learned to Write

You may be asking yourself why you’re looking at a video of Ricky Gervais on this MultiRotor website. Well, what initially got me involved in these addictive flying machines was the notion that some day I’d be able to capture beautiful video footage from my maniacal copter creations. Ironically, I’ve been so involved in building, experimenting, and hording these machines that little real production work has occurred up to this point. Soon. Lately I’ve been reminding myself repeatedly that nothing will materialize unless I sit down and start to write things again.

I feel this video speaks the truth as it touches on a simple observation about writing that may help both myself and other aspiring MultiRotor filmmakers. Also, I’m a fan of Ricky Gervais and really do enjoy his brand of humor. Both editions of The Office television series amuse me, and whether or not you’re a fan the show I think it is fair to say that the writing behind it is unique and well executed.

I’ve been paying close attention to recent outflow of MultiRotor videos being published online and what I notice is that everyone who flies copters is extremely pleased with having the ability to capture beautiful aerial footage. However, very few are using that footage to tell a cinematic story. Lately, the question I’ve been asking myself is this: now that I have the ability to capture images and footage from quadcopter – how will I use that ability to help tell a story. The answer – start writing.

You can read the story that covers this video on Fast Company.

Irresponsible Human Crashes DJI Phantom into NYC Sidewalk

NEW YORK, NY – September 30th, 2013

I’ve told all my friends that it was bound to happen sooner or later, and sure enough it happened today – a MultiRotor fell out of the sky and onto a busy New York City street. It nearly hit a businessman, who was on his way home from work. “My first thought was, ‘Someone’s done something reckless,’ ” the man told ABC/7. “They made an active decision to fly something that they don’t have control over, obviously, through the most crowded city in the most crowded time of the day.”

As you’ll see in the news video above and full video below, the operator of this DJI Phantom Quadcopter is clearly a novice and had no business flying over an area known to be congested by commuting human beings.
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DJI Crushes Competitor’s Entries into the RTF QuadCopter Market

DJI Crushes Walkera

September 9th, 2013

Today as I was browsing my Facebook account aimlessly my eyeballs came across a little post from DJI. It read “We’re happy to announce a change to the price of the Phantom!” My first thought was “Oh no, please no — now we’re going to have even more irresponsible people buying these ready to fly (RTF) QuadCopters and operating them without regard for persons or property on the ground.” Then I thought about a little similar looking copter recently released by Walkera in the beginning of August. I tried to remember the price for that little beast. The copter is the Walkera QR X350 and it is priced at $449 in a RTF configuration similar to that of the DJI Phantom. It is one of three potential competitors out there at the moment for DJI’s Phantom. The other two are the Blade 350 QX priced at $469, and the IdeaFly Apollo, priced at $569. Up until today, all were priced below the DJI Phantom’s going rate of $679.
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3D Robotics Releases Iris – a somewhat Ready to Fly UAV QuadCopter

Iris RTF QuadCopter

SAN DIEGO, CA – August 19th, 2013

Today 3D Robotics (3DR) announced Iris — an advanced quadcopter with full GPS-guided autonomous capabilities. Iris is designed to provide an “out-of-the-box” flying experience that brings the power of professional grade aerial robotics to the mass market.

Well it’s not quite out of the box ready yet though – thus my skeptical title. Reading a little further than the first paragraph of their press release and making it to their purchase page, I quickly learned from the big red text that the initial release of this platform is meant for developers and experienced operators who want to help in the overall development process. I guess it’s acceptable nowadays to pay $700+ to be part of the testing and development crew. To each his own, and good luck folks!
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