DIY: make a circuit board fly with this cute, tiny quadcopter kit

Two years after they launched their surprise hit mini quadcopter Crazyflie, the guys at Bitcraze have made their new and improved Crazyflie available for preorder at Seedstudio.

Arnaud Taffanel, Tobias Antonsson, and Marcus Eliasson worked as electronic engineers for Swedish consultancy firm Epsilon. As a competence development project, they started working on a tiny quadcopter in 2009. Their goal was to build an electronic board that could fly indoors (“because it’s too cold outside in Sweden”, they say).

The result was a tiny quadcopter, the Crazyflie:

Here’s the technical explanation of how it works:

The entire platform runs on a Cortex-M3 CPU that takes input from an accelerometer and pair of gyroscopes to help keep its balance. Wireless communications are handled via a 2.4Ghz radio transmitter, and the quadrocopter’s power is supplied by a tiny 110 mAh LIPO battery pack scavenged from an R/C plane.

The control and telemetry is handled by a PC, which relays control messages from the pilot’s game pad. (source)

When they sent the video to, reactions were so enthusiastic that they decided to start selling the DIY kits. The problem was that it was quite fragile, they say: “each crash was potentially fatal for one or many motors. That made it quite stressful to fly as it would not allow mistake and we eventually broke all 3 prototypes (the red board is the 2.4GHz radio and was also a weak point).”

The new version (see feature image) should address those problems. Here’s a video of the new nanocopter – it looks like it could cheer up many a dull moment:

[via Gizmag, Bitcraze, Hackaday]

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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