Autonomous micro helicopters

Fun & Games
Autonomous micro helicopters

While doing research for the next issue of MAKE, I discovered this small company, Centeye, right here in my own Northern, VA backyard. They’re developing vision chips for autonomous robotic aircraft. They have several videos on their site, showing various types of tests. Unfortunately, the videos are in WMV format only, and not on YouTube.

The video screen cap above is of a micro helicopter holding its position using only visual information from a ring of six of Centeye’s ArzPro sensors, mounted in the yaw plane. No gyro is used. Other videos show obstacle avoidance behaviors and the robot fliers taking control if the operator tries to fly them into something. Cool stuff. We’ll have to try and get the engineer behind this to present at a Dorkbot.



2 thoughts on “Autonomous micro helicopters

  1. Geoffrey Barrows says:


    I’m pleased you like this work. I’d be happy to present our work if this still would be of interest.

    Currently we have a batch of “vision chips” in fabrication right now- we should be getting these back from the foundry in a few weeks (knock on wood). Ideally we will be able to mass produce sensors at a reasonable volume perhaps a month or so after that. I’m pretty eager to get a “wish list” of features from you or anyone else on what you’d like these sensors to have/do. I really want to get these things in the hands of experimenters.

    Sorry our videos are not on YouTube- we’ll have to correct that.


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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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