14Jul/17

BIKI: The World’s First Bionic Wireless Robot Fish

The most amazing part of BIKI is the use of bionic design, just like a machinery fish swing the tail in the water. Even during high-speed motion or in darkness, BIKI is capable of shooting clear and stable footage by using the built-in HD camera and anti-shake camera gimbal.

BIKI, the world’s first bionic wireless robot fish is now on KICKSTARTER.

The UAV is already a high-tech product that everyone knows. It can be applied to use in many fields. But we have to admit that, when we are talking about the UAV, the first impression of most people is the ones that fly over the sky, and most of the so-called UAVs or drones that sold on the market are belong to this type. In fact, in addition to fly in the sky, it would be great if the drones can work underwater as well. After all, the underwater world contains unlimited mystery and worth discovering. Thus, if there comes an underwater drone, it would be much more interesting than just flying the ordinary ones.

BIKI is the world’s first bionic underwater drone that is also the only underwater robot featuring automated balance, obstacle avoidance, and return to base.

With the built-in 4K camera, BIKI presents you with the best view from underwater. Through this intelligent robot fish, you can visualize the underwater world from a completely new perspective. BIKI is not only an almighty underwater drone but also a robot pet full of emotions. Now, just tell BIKI what you want to do!

Enjoy diving? What about swimming with BIKI to see the underwater wonderland. You can swim with the camera for 90-120 minutes and at a depth of up to 196 feet. BIKI can accompany you freely to enjoy in the underwater world.

BIKI’s maximum diving depth can reach to 60 meters, and under this depth you will see the underwater wonderland from a new perspective. And you will find the differences from what we have already known

Even during high-speed motion or in darkness, BIKI is capable of shooting clear and stable footage by using the built-in HD camera and anti-shake camera gimbal.

If you’re worried about the footage stabilization, BIKI stability has been greatly improved through high-definition camera and anti-shake technology, brings you the best quality of the pictures. BIKI is equipped with a 150-degree wide-angle lens, so you won’t let you miss any details of the underwater.

If you dive to the darkness, BIKI also has two 114 lumens LED lights, In this way, you can use the BIKI perspective to see what the real underwater world looks like. BIKI has a storage space of 32 GB, which can save 2.2 hours of 1080 p resolution video,Or 5243 8000000-pixel photos.

BIKI’s design is inspired from the dolphins through the bionic sonar positioning system to determine the environment. So remote operations can be carried out in a wireless control manner. BIKI uses bionics and 55-dB 55 technology to swim underwater like a real fish. And it will not disturb the sea creatures. BIKI, through its own automatic control algorithm, can keep the balance in water, and helps us explore the endless underwater world .No matter how complex the environment is, BIKI can travel quickly in the coral group and avoid obstacles automatically.

At the same time, BIKI can return automatically through the built-in GPS positioning system, so there is no need to worry about the loss of wireless control. BIKI uses the intelligent collision avoidance technology, so even attacked by other underwater animals, it is also able to go back all over. Through wireless networks and sound wave technology, we can easily control BIKI thru mobile devices.

In addition to exploring the unknown, we can use BIKI to monitor the children’s play in the pool and know the situation in real time to prevent accidents from happening. BIKI can also help us record the happy time of family in the water.

At present, BIKI underwater drones have begun to raise public funds on Kickstarter  with a total target of $20,000.00 USD. The unit price for early buyers is $599.00 USD. If everything goes well, it is expected to be shipped in September 2017.

If the flying with ordinary drones can not meet your expectations, and you want to explore the unknown sea world, well, try the BIKI.

12Jul/17

Miniaturizing The Brain of a Drone

Creidt to Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office

In recent years, engineers have worked to shrink drone technology, building flying prototypes that are the size of a bumblebee and loaded with even tinier sensors and cameras. Thus far, they have managed to miniaturize almost every part of a drone, except for the brains of the entire operation — the computer chip.

Standard computer chips for quadcoptors and other similarly sized drones process an enormous amount of streaming data from cameras and sensors, and interpret that data on the fly to autonomously direct a drone’s pitch, speed, and trajectory. To do so, these computers use between 10 and 30 watts of power, supplied by batteries that would weigh down a much smaller, bee-sized drone.

Now, engineers at MIT have taken a first step in designing a computer chip that uses a fraction of the power of larger drone computers and is tailored for a drone as small as a bottlecap. They will present a new methodology and design, which they call “Navion,” at the Robotics: Science and Systems conference, held this week at MIT.

The team, led by Sertac Karaman, the Class of 1948 Career Development Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, and Vivienne Sze, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, developed a low-power algorithm, in tandem with pared-down hardware, to create a specialized computer chip.

The key contribution of their work is a new approach for designing the chip hardware and the algorithms that run on the chip. “Traditionally, an algorithm is designed, and you throw it over to a hardware person to figure out how to map the algorithm to hardware,” Sze says. “But we found by designing the hardware and algorithms together, we can achieve more substantial power savings.”

“We are finding that this new approach to programming robots, which involves thinking about hardware and algorithms jointly, is key to scaling them down,” Karaman says.

The new chip processes streaming images at 20 frames per second and automatically carries out commands to adjust a drone’s orientation in space. The streamlined chip performs all these computations while using just below 2 watts of power — making it an order of magnitude more efficient than current drone-embedded chips.

Karaman, says the team’s design is the first step toward engineering “the smallest intelligent drone that can fly on its own.” He ultimately envisions disaster-response and search-and-rescue missions in which insect-sized drones flit in and out of tight spaces to examine a collapsed structure or look for trapped individuals. Karaman also foresees novel uses in consumer electronics.

“Imagine buying a bottlecap-sized drone that can integrate with your phone, and you can take it out and fit it in your palm,” he says. “If you lift your hand up a little, it would sense that, and start to fly around and film you. Then you open your hand again and it would land on your palm, and you could upload that video to your phone and share it with others.”

Karaman and Sze’s co-authors are graduate students Zhengdong Zhang and Amr Suleiman, and research scientist Luca Carlone.

From the ground up

Current minidrone prototypes are small enough to fit on a person’s fingertip and are extremely light, requiring only 1 watt of power to lift off from the ground. Their accompanying cameras and sensors use up an additional half a watt to operate.

“The missing piece is the computers — we can’t fit them in terms of size and power,” Karaman says. “We need to miniaturize the computers and make them low power.”

The group quickly realized that conventional chip design techniques would likely not produce a chip that was small enough and provided the required processing power to intelligently fly a small autonomous drone.

“As transistors have gotten smaller, there have been improvements in efficiency and speed, but that’s slowing down, and now we have to come up with specialized hardware to get improvements in efficiency,” Sze says.

The researchers decided to build a specialized chip from the ground up, developing algorithms to process data, and hardware to carry out that data-processing, in tandem.

Tweaking a formula

Specifically, the researchers made slight changes to an existing algorithm commonly used to determine a drone’s “ego-motion,” or awareness of its position in space. They then implemented various versions of the algorithm on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), a very simple programmable chip. To formalize this process, they developed a method called iterative splitting co-design that could strike the right balance of achieving accuracy while reducing the power consumption and the number of gates.

A typical FPGA consists of hundreds of thousands of disconnected gates, which researchers can connect in desired patterns to create specialized computing elements. Reducing the number gates with co-design allowed the team to chose an FPGA chip with fewer gates, leading to substantial power savings.

“If we don’t need a certain logic or memory process, we don’t use them, and that saves a lot of power,” Karaman explains.

Each time the researchers tweaked the ego-motion algorithm, they mapped the version onto the FPGA’s gates and connected the chip to a circuit board. They then fed the chip data from a standard drone dataset — an accumulation of streaming images and accelerometer measurements from previous drone-flying experiments that had been carried out by others and made available to the robotics community.

“These experiments are also done in a motion-capture room, so you know exactly where the drone is, and we use all this information after the fact,” Karaman says.

Memory savings

For each version of the algorithm that was implemented on the FPGA chip, the researchers observed the amount of power that the chip consumed as it processed the incoming data and estimated its resulting position in space.

The team’s most efficient design processed images at 20 frames per second and accurately estimated the drone’s orientation in space, while consuming less than 2 watts of power.

The power savings came partly from modifications to the amount of memory stored in the chip. Sze and her colleagues found that they were able to shrink the amount of data that the algorithm needed to process, while still achieving the same outcome. As a result, the chip itself was able to store less data and consume less power.

“Memory is really expensive in terms of power,” Sze says. “Since we do on-the-fly computing, as soon as we receive any data on the chip, we try to do as much processing as possible so we can throw it out right away, which enables us to keep a very small amount of memory on the chip without accessing off-chip memory, which is much more expensive.”

In this way, the team was able to reduce the chip’s memory storage to 2 megabytes without using off-chip memory, compared to a typical embedded computer chip for drones, which uses off-chip memory on the order of a few gigabytes.

“Any which way you can reduce the power so you can reduce battery size or extend battery life, the better,” Sze says.

This summer, the team will mount the FPGA chip onto a drone to test its performance in flight. Ultimately, the team plans to implement the optimized algorithm on an application-specific integrated circuit, or ASIC, a more specialized hardware platform that allows engineers to design specific types of gates, directly onto the chip.

“We think we can get this down to just a few hundred milliwatts,” Karaman says. “With this platform, we can do all kinds of optimizations, which allows tremendous power savings.”

This research was supported, in part, by Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation.

Source: MIT News

12Jul/17

Special Watchstrap Allows Drone Being Gesture Controlled

The watchstrap contains piezoresistive fibers produced on a 3D printer. The wrist movements are transmitted to steer the drone. (Credit: Empa)

It is not new to most of us to control some devices via our hand gestures, but these are typically realized by visual sensors like cameras, accelerometers or gyroscopes. However, the scientists from EMPA, Swiss Materials Science and Technology Research Center, have a new technology for gesture control in a different way. It has integrated into a watch strap to control the drone. It could conceivably also be incorporated into bracelets or perhaps adhesive skin patches.

Led by Dr. Frank Clemens, the team developed the watch strap which contains piezo-resistive fibers produced on a 3D printer. It means that their electrical resistance changes in response to mechanical pressure, such as that which is exerted in the wrist when the hand makes movements such as finger-pointing, or forming a fist. Those changes in resistance – which vary with the particular gesture – are converted into command signals, which are wirelessly transmitted to the device being controlled.

In the case of the drone, waving the hand to left or right causes the aircraft to turn accordingly, while making a fist causes it to land. Plans call for the strap to also identify and assign commands to sequences of gestures, such as closing the hand into a fist twice in succession.

According to Empa, one of the things that makes the technology special is the fact that it can detect even relatively minute, subtle gestures – by contrast, using traditional gesture recognition systems, gestures need to be larger, more well-defined, and within a certain speed range.

The system can be seen in use, in the video below.

03Jul/17

CX-OF Micro Dacing Drone: Far More Interesting Beyond Your Imagination

Have you ever seen a mini dancing drone?

The CX-OF from Cheerson Hobby is far interesting beyond your imagination. It is an innovative mini quadcopter with Optical Flow positioning system, which features great hover stability and gesture control mode. Besides, it is equipped with a 0.3MP camera with Wifi FPV function for first-person review. With unique programmable function you can set up the move and the drone will perform stunning aerial dance. This will be a great gift for children.

The mini OF is now can be purchased at Banggood.

 

Dancing Mode in APP

Dancing Mode – Choreography Function

Users can access to the APP and edit the choreography for the mini CX-OF. Adding the icons which stand for different actions to the timeline of interface, and then you will able to compile the actions in order, including flip, frog jump and flight routes. The mini CX-OF will start to dance according to the actions you’ve set in the timeline. It is a lot of fun with the interactive between player and CX-OF. It also allows the drone LEDs shinning with dancing rhythm, making it a micro dancing drone beyond your imagination.

The APP can be downloaded at Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cx.cxof&hl=en

Functions of the APP:

1.Remote control axis aircraft by mobile.
2.Display the real-time video which taken by the camera on the aircraft,video data transmitted via 2.4G WiFi protocol.
3.Take the photo and video record on mobile.
4. It has strong playability by equipping with game actions function.
5. It is equipped with optical flow system that the flying is more stable.

dancing with CX-OF

CX-OF flys according to APP settings

Optical Flow Positioning

The Mini OF acquires the image data from the camera at the bottom. By using optical flow algorithm, it is able to do real time analysis based on the calculation of two-frame image movements. The effective sensing height is 3 to 5 meters.

Free your hands while doing something else

Move with your hands

Track Flying

Track flying is a new multi-point routing control technology. As long as you touch on APP screen to make a track, the CX-OF will be able to be flown according to the track that you have set in APP.

One Key Operations

The mini CX-OF operation is easy. The one-key operation functions at APP make it easier than any other micro drones. One key take-off, landing and 360 degree flip all can be easily achieved with APP. The APP also supports both IOS and Android.

Self-shooting

The mini CX-OF supports 180° rotation of one key self-shooting mode. It is equipped with a 0.3 pixels camera to support both camera and video modes. It also has a high precision air pressure sensor which is able to quickly achieve a precise height setting, makes the shooting more stable, fully meet the requirements for self-shooting.

Self-shooting with 180° rotation

Small and Exquisite Design

The CX-OF is a perfect indoor racer, small and agile. The dimension is 68mm x 68mm x 33mm and the weight is 24 grams only.  Available in red and blue finishes. The transmitter is very simple in design and easy to use.

Built-in battery, 2 hours charging and the flight time can be up to 30 minutes.

Free your hands, more interesting beyond your imagination

01Jul/17

Step into the Era of BLHeli_32

BLHeli_32 is a new firmware for 32 bit ESCs that has recently been announced by Steffen of team BLHeli in April.

Different from the the previous BLHeli_2, the BLHeli_32 is written in closed source. This means the code will not be released to the community, similar to how the KISS ESC code is not released.

The 32bit ESCs with BLHeli_32 firmware are compatible with the newest DSHOT 1200 protocol. The 32bit archetecture enables the ESCs to run at incredible speeds resulting in better performance, faster input signals and lower latency compared to older 8bit ESCs. For more information about BLHeli_32, you can check it out at www.blheli32.com.

In a very short period, many manufacturers have rushed into the market by paying the license to Team BLHeli. Here’s a list of legistimate BLHeli_32 ESCs’:

Wraith32 Series, Made by Airbot

Wraith32 Mini 25A –  https://www.fpvmodel.com/wraith32-mini-32bit-blheli-esc_g1303.html

Wraith32 35A – https://www.fpvmodel.com/wraith32-32bit-35a-blheli_32-esc-dshot1200_g1271.html

Wraith32 Plus 50A – https://www.fpvmodel.com/wraith32-plus-32bit-50a-blheli_32-esc-dshot1200_g1272.html

iPeaka BLHeli_32, Made by Iflight

iPeaka 35A – http://www.iflight-rc.com/ipeaka-35a-32bit-blheli-32-esc-opto-2-6s-dshot1200-compatible.html

iPeaka 50A – http://www.iflight-rc.com/ipeaka-50a-32bit-blheli-32-esc-opto-2-6s-dshot1200-compatible.html

X-Racer Quadrant BLHeli_32, Made by FPV Model

X-Racer Quadrant 2-6S 25A – https://www.fpvmodel.com/x-racer-quadrant-2-6s-25a-32bit-blheli_32-esc-dshot1200_g1287.html

X-Racer Quadrant 2-6S 35A – https://www.fpvmodel.com/x-racer-quadrant-2-6s-35a-32bit-blheli_32-esc-dshot1200_g1299.html

Lumenier BLHeli_32, Made by GetFPV

Lumenier BLHeli_32 35A – http://www.getfpv.com/lumenier-blheli-32-35a-3-6s-dshot-1200-esc-w-led.html

Lumenier BLHeli_32 50A – http://www.getfpv.com/lumenier-blheli-32-50a-3-6s-dshot-1200-esc-w-led.html

Littlebee BLHELI_32, Made by Favourite FVT

Littlebee BLHeli_32 35A – https://www.banggood.com/Favourite-FVT-LittleBee-Summer-35A-2-4S-BLHeli_32-FPV-Racing-Brushless-ESC-Dshot1200-Ready-p-1154879.html

Racerstar TATTO, Made by Banggood

Racerstar Tattoo 35A – https://www.banggood.com/Racerstar-TATTO-35A-BLheli_32Bit-2-5S-RaceSpec-Brushless-ESC-Dshot1200-Ready-for-Racing-Drone-p-1153990.html

DYS BLHeli_32, Made by DYS 

DYS BLHeli_32 35A – https://www.banggood.com/DYS-BLHeli_32bit-35A-35amp-Brushless-ESC-2-6S-Dshot1200-Ready-For-FPV-Racing-p-1148598.html

01Jul/17

SF Express Obtained First Drone Delivery Authourization in China

SF Express just annouced on June 29th that they have obtained the first drone delivery authourization in China.

Many express deliveries in China are planning to deliver the packages by drone, the two giants, SF express and Jingdong, are two of them. Presently, drone delivery is still under testing in some areas, there’s far way ahead before popular. Except the technology reason, the development is also depending on government’s rules towards the UAV.

On June 21st, the application of UAV logistic demonstration area that jointly submitted by SF Express and Ganzhou was officially approved by military. It is the first such formal approval in China. The UAV logistic demonstration area will be a special area that promoted by SF Express, local government and miltary.

At the beginning, the UAV logistic are is limited to 5 towns in Nankang district of Ganzhou Jiangxi province. SF Express has started its first drone delivery on June 29th by using the quadcopter that developed by themselves . “SF drones has entered the front of logistics business”, as what the spokeman of SF Express said.

From 2012, SF Express has started to work on the solutions of drone delivery. By now, SF has obtained 151 patents related to drone dlivery.

As the next step, SF’s drones will not face to the end customers directly, but transfer the packages between its different facilities, ans send the packages to the remote areas which are hard to reach by manpower.

In addition to the technical limit, SF drone delivery is also facing a great challenge from government regulatory in China. With the frequent occurence of UAV incidents, the government is more and more strict with the regulatory policies. China Civil Aviation authourity has asked all the buyers who purchase the drones with a weight over 250g need to be registered with real names.

Although it is still a far way ahead, definitely the drone delivery authourization is a breakthrough to SF Express. Prior to the China State Post Bureau has predicted that China’s logistics maret size would reach 550 billion US Dollars by 2020, that is the main reason why all the giants in China are flushing into the delivery market, including SF Express, Jingdong and Alibaba.

30Jun/17

Rescue-2, the Professional 10x Zoom HD Gimbal Camera

FPV Model newly released a professional 10x zoom gimbal camera. It is specially designed for search and rescue missions. Only $678.90, it is now available for purchasing at FPV Model.

Rescue-2 is a very versatile tool that can be applied to the vast majority of search and rescue missions due to its size, convenience, and quick deploy time. Using this 10x zoom gimbal will give you a stable eye in the sky that can be controlled via drone pilot or a secondary individual allowing for an overhead view that can cover a large amount of ground quickly and effectively.

The 10x zoom function will allow you to remain at a distance yet zoom closely in on anything that requires your attention. The combined use of video transmitters and receivers will give you a live view back at the mission base and allow for coordinating crews in real time giving an effective means for obtaining the best possible outcome.

Use the aviation material, Basecam SimpleBGC encoder, 1035 wide range lens and many more… The Rescue-2 is able to make the difficult balance between agility and image quality.


Rescue-2 10x Zoom Gimbal Camera Introduction

 

30Jun/17

DJI Spark, the Easiest Camera Drone For Everyone


DJI Spark Introudction

It has been more than two months since DJI released its new Spark mini drone. Finally, the Spark is now available for an immediate shipping. It is starting at $499 and you can buy it from the official DJI Store or from Banggood.

Here is what you need to know before purchasing.

Spark is DJI’s smallest, smartest, and easiest-to-use drone yet. It features all of DJI’s signature technologies, allowing you to seize the moment whenever you feel inspired. Fly it with a remote controller, smartphone, or just your hands. Shoot selfies like never before, and professional videos in an instant. Take Spark with you anywhere, and make your moments incredible.

DJI Spark Specifications

  1. DJI Spark Flight time — 16 Minutes
  2. DJI Spark Speed — 50 KM/H
  3. DJI Spark Gymbal — 2 Axis
  4. DJI Spark Transmission Distance — 1.2 MI (2 KM)
  5. DJI Spark VPS Range — 30M
  6. DJI Spark Effective Pixels — 12 MP Camera

DJI Spark Features

  1. DJI Spark Quick Launch — With FaceAware, Spark lifts off your hand by recognizing you. It takes off and hovers in place within seconds of powering on.
  2. DJI Spark Simple Control — Take amazing aerial photos using just hand gestures, without a remote controller or mobile device.
  3. Create with ease — Intelligent Flight Modes and intuitive controls help you create cinematic aerial videos with just a few taps.
  4. Edit and share — The DJI GO 4 app features automatic editing templates and an array of filters. Quickly edit videos and share them straight to social media.

DJI Spark Flight modes

  1. QuickShot — Lets Spark take professional shots for you. There are 4 modes to choose from
  • Rocket — Ascend with the camera pointing downward
  • Dronie —This is one of my favourite features. The Spark flies backward and upward with the camera locked on your subject
  • Circle — This mode lets you make circles around a target of your choice
  • Helix — This mode lets you fly in a spiral around a target of your choice

2. TapFly — In TapFly mode, just envision your shot and Spark captures it for you. Tap your phone screen and Spark, using vision technology, flies in the direction of your tap or exactly where you tapped while actively sensing obstacles.

3. ActiveTrack — Probably my favourite flight mode. With ActiveTrack, Spark automatically recognizes objects of different shapes and sizes then tracks them according to what they are and how fast they move. This makes tracking much easier and more reliable.

4. Gesture — Deep learning gesture recognition allows you to take selfies with simple hand motions. With PalmControl mode, control Spark’s movement by hand. If you want, leave your remote controller and phone at home.