As someone who enjoys electronics and making new toys, the idea of a quadcopter kit sounds exciting. From an early age, making anything radio controlled was fun, from boats to cars, but so far I haven’t made anything that flys…
A Swedish company called Bitcraze may just of provided the tool to scratch my itch! A tiny quadcopter called the Crazyflie Nano, that fits into the palm of your hand and comes as a kit.
Designed with home assembly in mind, once ordered you must mount and solder the motors. Being open source, you can easily expand the capabilities of the quadcopter to include features like an on-board camera / microphone. It’s basically a flying development board. It has a Flight time up to 7 minutes with standard 170mAh Li-Po battery.
By extending arms from the printed circuit board, they act as a frame which means the quadcopter has no unnecessary extra weight. At only 19g /0.67oz, it is one of the lightest and most agile quadcopters on the market.
After seeing the first 3 seconds of the following video, I was sold on the idea. I need to make something that flys. The sound of the quadcopter as it zooms past the camera reminds me of when a formula 1 car zooms past, another experience I enjoy.
I find that being an open source project is a very nice touch, since hobbyists and enthusiasts can easily expand it’s functionality. Could this be the next Arducopter…?
With a starting price of $149 for the basic model and $173 for the advanced, it’s targeted at those who want to do more than just fly it round a room, since cheaper options are available. The advanced version (10-DOF) has added on-board sensors for altitude and heading measurement. These don’t work out of the box, since they need firmware installing but are there ready for you to develop into your program.
I was very interested to see it uses a 2.4 GHz radio chip from Nordic Semiconductors. This is used for 2 way communication both controlling the Crazyflie and returning telemetry data back to the host computer. We have recently been experimenting with the Nordic NRF24l01 radio chip and is very easy to control via Arduino. It could a very exciting and interesting development platform!
Here is an assembly video of the Bitcraze Crazyflie Quadcopter kit -