One of the perks of working for DDB Canada is DDB Fuel, a program that gives each employee $250 a year to spend on something that will "fuel their creativity." A few years ago, I used it to buy a GoPro Camera, and used it on a couple of surfing trips. Last year, I used my Fuel to take Japanese lessons. This year, I bought a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter While it's possible to fly the Parrot AR almost right out of the box (after the battery has been charged), mastering it is another story. It's controlled via an iOS App that streams video directly to your phone, giving you a bird's eye view of the world:
I've been interested in drones and quadrocopters for a while, and find that they make interesting topics of conversation at our weekly Radar 10am meeting, so it's been awesome to get some hands-on experience. This hands-on experience isn't limited to just flying the device. After only a few days of ownership, I had my first crash and had to order replacement parts (new gears and new central cross). This led to completely taking apart the drone, and rebuilding it. As a result, I now know way more about circuit boards than I used to. It also gave me a chance to give it a custom paint job:
What's also neat about the Parrot AR Drones is that the iOS App gives you a data output after each flight, detailing speed, heigh and battery usage:
If you're interested in more things like this, check out the links below:
Matternet is looking to solve transportation problems by creating a network of drones and groundstations in remote or otherwise difficult to reach areas. While I believe their first focus is on using the system as a means of delivering medicine to remote villages in Africa, it also has it's uses as an urban courier system in congested areas.
I've learned a lot about fixing and updating my Parrot AR Drone from DroneFlyers.com. They've got great articles that walk you through the different steps of troubleshooting even the most basic drones.
TechCrunch recently covered a new start up, Spiri, aimed at creating drones that would enable developers to more easily program drone/quadricopter apps.
Lastly, check out the video below of two quadricopters juggling a stick: