Drones Take Flight at the Hardware Innovation Workshop

Drones are so bleeding edge that talks about their future sound like yesterday’s science fiction plots. These are great talks from last May’s Hardware Innovation Workshop–check them out!

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Chris Anderson’s talk tells a great story. He tried to get his five kids interested in the same stuff he likes–“there’s not a geek amongst them, but I’m not giving up” he says in the talk. The Lego Mindstorms autopilot they built takes readings from a GPS and controls the plane’s steering mechanism. This blew Chris’s mind, and he founded DIY Drones to create a community and learn more. A few years later he’s CEO of drone manufacturer 3D Robotics.

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This talk is by Andreas Raptopoulos, founder & CEO of Matternet, a startup attempting to build an automated delivery network of UAVs coordinating with each other with the help of a proprietary software platform.

Andreas mentions that one billion people don’t have access to all-season roads, and therefore can’t receive goods or distribute their own. Even in the cities, congestion is so bad that huge quantities of fuel and productivity is wasted every year in traffic jams. Both would be helped by an autonomous network of drones that could take traffic off the roads. This fascinating talk really shows how people are looking at UAV technology to make our lives better.

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Finally, Peter Platzer of NanoSatisfi talks about ArduSat, Arduino-equipped satellites about the size of a softball, equipped with 15 sensors. You can buy time on satellites and control it via a web site, basically giving any high school kid access to actual space experiments. Even cooler, what would it be like if there were a whole network of these satellites?

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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