active track DJI MAVIC \\ FREE LOOK // parkes nsw 2017

My first real trial of the active track feature with the DJI Mavic Pro. Very useful feature and allows the ability to be your own camera crew…i used a skateboard to see how well it keeps up.
edited in iMovie.

Music Available @ [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KoWCGl73u8]
Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC65e9ndBqyxT_uHbkyrh42Q

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New <2kg Drone Regulation

New drone rules start (29th September), allowing you to fly your sub 2kg drone commercially without the need to be certified, saving you both time and money. Before you take-off, you must complete an online notification form and agree to fly within the standard operating conditions to keep everyone safe. Your drone is your responsibility.

CASA, YouTube

For more information on these changes, visit CASA website

FPV Drone: Cocoon Voyager

The Cocoon Voyager Quadcopter was essentially my entry into the FPV (First Person View) arena with drones and piloting. Previously drones I’ve had are smartphone app assisted or don’t really require me to see what the drone see’s. Also, despite my research on drones and their values in society, I’m a learning novice when it comes to Piloting the devices. This $100 drone from Aldi was the perfect opportunity for me to practice my piloting skills and eventually try my skill at FPV flying, which is something I am fascinated by.

Some technical aspects to be excited about (in terms of the price) include:

  • 2.4gHz transmission – which means the range is great and not too dissimilar to a racing drone
  • 720p (HD) Video – live feed is a little less due to the connection speeds however on review these pictures are clear enough for intermediate use
  • 6-Axis Gyroscope – this means reasonable control however with my personal one, crashes are frequent that does affect this feature.
  • Built in flip features – With the click of a button and the joystick pointed in the desired direction, 360 flips are possible that are fun and safe.
  • Spare Parts in the Box –  Crashes are inevitable and the team at Cocoon have you covered with a spare set of propellers and covers, with more available online

Testing the flight of this quadcopter it was a real experience, as the climate and proximity of space play huge rolls. The actual drone is only 150g (approx) heavy, which means wind factors play a part in piloting troubles. This drone is without sensory technology or GPS assistance so the piloting is up to you (and is also where the rotor guards are a great addition). I would recommend a oval or playing field for beginners as small touches and a “feel” of sensitivity is good to have before trying advanced terrain.

fpv-drone

I got around 10mins flight time that included take off and landing, which use the majority of the devices battery span. On the box it recommends charging the quadcopter battery for approx. 100mins but I was able to gain full charge in around 60-70mins. The range of this drone is detailed to be around 50 meters, but due to the navigational piloting skill required and climate factors, I wouldn’t recommend testing this. The lights start flashing if the device becomes low on battery or out of range and will slowly descend. Again, make sure you’re present when this happens, if a gush of wind takes it there’s not stopping how far away it could land.

The FPV app is available on android and iOS markets free of charge and is a great addition to this drone. It stores the videos/ photos from the camera on the app which can then be shared or downloaded to a device. It links with the quadcopter once powered up and relays the front of the drones view to a clamped mount on top of your remote control. To start/ stop video and take photos a button is pressed on the app once for each function.

Lastly, the remote control has two modes for piloting skill level and inversion settings for the josticks. It runs off 4x AA batteries that are included in the purchase.

 

Introducing: The ‘LookUp’

Currently drones look down. They relay a view from an aircraft that looks vertically down past the propellers and usually have a camera on a gimbal with the ability to pan up and down and minor sideways movements. I have custom built from the ground up a drone which implements an external camera located on the top of the aircraft, replacing the traditional bottom placement. This allows a 270-degree vision angle looking vertically from the device.

look-up-1

My prototype has the camera capability to view 360 degrees which means, when linked with a smart device, like a tablet or phone, you can simply move the device to a desired viewpoint by a click and drag around the screen, with complete control. The camera can be linked to a smart phone and inserted into a Virtual Reality (or VR) Headset that allows viewing advantage simply by turning your head. Platforms such as YouTube and Facebook also support these for sharing online, which uses the same method on smart devices and a click and drag technique with the mouse when viewing on a PC.

As a part of the design of the drone, I’ve fitted LED lights around the exterior for added visions in darkened spaces

.drone-360-leds

It also has a LIVE FEED first person view camera on the front for piloting assistance to an external monitor. This relays what the front of the drone sees if the drone was to become out of sight and needed to be traced.

feel-pvr733-fpv-monitor(http://www.riseabove.com.au/assets/full/FEEL-PVR733-FPV-MONITOR.jpg)

 

I’ve left out of this build sensory technology simply due to costs and the first intended usage not particularly needing a whole lot of piloting assistance. It’s something I am definitely going to add to the advancement and development of this prototype with future builds and even this one itself.  However, what I don’t pack in GPS and smart phone connectivity I make up for in a revolutionary dual mount system.

Users can now choose whether they want videos of under the drone, above the drone or both. 360fly Director allows the footage from cameras that have been imported to the software to be merged that would ultimately mean if there were two cameras on each mount, then simple click and drag merging of the footage would give an edit of everything the drone could have captured whilst in the air, both looking up and down, all in 360 degree high definition video. A whole new product  that is unseen and un-engineered in a commercial environment.

look-up-3

The 360fly camera I’ve chosen I would highly recommend to anyone new to 360degree video technology and has an interest in introducing themselves into Virtual Reality as it comes with a set of VR goggles fit for a smartphone. I’ve chosen the HD camera however there is also a 4K device available that obviously climbs in price but produces higher quality footage. The button on the camera acts as the one power switch as well as the record button, so capturing is very easy to navigate, with red (recording), blue (on) and green (charging). The smartphone linkage to this camera uses a wifi hotspot signal that creates a live feed in 360 to the connected device. It also has a cloud save setting that saves all the video content to the app as well as the device itself. The app also allows users to start and stop the recording via the phone, which is very convenient once attached to the drone.

360-attached-to-drone

The VR Goggles that are able to be claimed with the purchase of the camera from 360fly are a great introduction to the possibilities of 360 degree video playback on a smartphone. The device simply clamps in the phone and once switched to VR goggle mode on the chosen playback platform, users have the advantage of turning their head freely to view the space they desire.

Lastly the remote control I’ve collaborated is a DJI DT-7 RC Radio System. This is a universal controller usually found with the early Phantom ranger, however has the ability to link with my custom build, with, if desired, also be able to control a camera separate to the drone as well as switch between modes (GPS, sports mode). However, my drone doesn’t require these features. The controls are then all linked the same way as any commercial product, with added skill necessary to combat wind drift and general external factors.

Here’s 3 videos I’ve made using the ‘LookUp’. A day at a beach park, a skating video as well as the intended purpose of the top camera mount for a bridge inspection.

 

 

Using the “Look Up” to Look Down

The “Look Up” was initially built to film a 180 degree vertical space above the aircraft in 360 degrees so the viewer could have a free look around the underneath of a bridge. This would help with inspections and revolutionise the industry with an innovative model of digital documentation with this particular assembly of products. However, in recent days I’ve changed the game of drone flight and attached a mount for the 360Fly HD Camera.

This makes the “Look Up’ prototype now almost ready for an unlimited commercial market. I’ve given the user extra control to view a space below the quadcopter or above in a matter of seconds.

An awesome possibility is that if the individual had 2 360fly cameras, they could simultaneously be filming then the footage merged into a video of the same flight.

Take a look at my first attempt to create a visually aesthetic video with the camera mounted to the underneath of the drone filming down.

Cheerson CX-10c: Nano Drone

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When thinking how small commercial drone have become since their release it’s quiet amazing to see in person the “Nano Drone”. Called this due to the sheer size of this tiny quadcopter. I recently obtained what is one of the smallest drones on the market, it doesn’t go past the palm of your hand in size, in the Cheerson CX-10c Quadcopter.

This drone has some pretty impressive specs for the price and size of the device:

 

  • Size: 40 x 40 x 22mm
  • Flight time: about 5-8 minutes
  • Charging time: 15-20 minutes
  • Control distance: about 20-50m
  • Gyro: 6 axis
  • 3 flight speed mode
  • 3 colours available: orange, blue, green

Personally, this drone flies well. It takes some getting used to with the throw to take off method but after a few (inevitable) crashes it becomes more stable. This doesn’t rely on any GPS navigation or collision avoidance system so piloting is done the whole time. The sensitivity on the remote control has 3 levels depending on how “touchy” you want the controls to be.

This drone I believe is a great entry level quadcopter for those looking at piloting drones and getting used to a FPV type piloting experience with a cheap device. The camera on the drone is the same as an iPhone 4 quality.

This drone can open up new possibilities and new thoughts about the look and sounds of quadcopters. People detail that the noise a larger commercial drone emits can be off putting or even ‘scary’. This little quadcopter has an insect like presence that could be a likened to a “pet”. This new mode of thinking about these devices could appeal to a younger market with a slightly more “toy”-like attitude.

In saying this, surveillance with these small devices open up new types of ideas for their possibilities. I’m keen to see what the users can create with these small  entry level drones and how they will develop with the technology.

The LookUp

Using a Custom built drone prototype this device allows a 360 degree view of a bridge that will revolutionize the inspection industry.
Built by me the drone has a custom mount that can be interchaged from top to bottom at user discretion.

This particular assembly is showcasing the camera on top and applied to bridge inspection. This drone is the product of numerous iterations and research, as well as close collaboration with the RMS.

Free Look Showcase Custom Drone

This is another test video of a 360fly attatched to, this time,  the bottom of a drone that i’ve custom built and designed. My Friend sonny offered to be the subject skating around an old soccer field carpark.

The ability for the user is now an interchangeable camera mount on a drone that can be viewed in 360 degrees and linked with VR.