Sunday, October 26, 2014

Paratrooper Mario

Our most recent TATTS event showcased 'Paratrooper Mario'.  Given that TATTS team members are so crazy about all things Mario, we thought it'd be cool to have him parachute from the F550 hexarotor.  We built a harness and goggles from Duct Tape (after all, you can't parachute without goggles) and a parachute from a good sized piece of plastic.

Mario with his goggles, harness and chute

Mario ready to launch.  White sheet is target to hit when landing
The goal was for the kids to fly the drone, estimate wind direction to determine a good spot to release Mario and then to release him and see if he hits the target (the white sheet). We offered a $5 cash prize to anyone who could pull it off. We came close a few times but no cash winners.
Paratrooper Mario making his descent
The kids enjoyed watching the action at the base station which was fed by the real-time video download from one of our other drones - a Phantom 2.

Kids enjoying the base station views of Paratrooper Mario
 
Drones in the air

We were also fortunate to have a beautiful fall day to fly. Fall color was peaking which is evident in the aerial shots we took.




Take a look at a quick clip of one of Mario's flights.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer 2014 Field Work

The TATTS team was busy this summer on many different missions including flying to support shoreland restoration efforts in northern Wisconsin, collecting imagery on a cabin in northern Wisconsin, and imaging corn fields in south central Wisconsin.


Connor prepares the camera and gimbal prior to an autonomous flight
 
Shoreland restoration shot in northern Wisconsin
 
Shoreland restoration shot in northern Wisconsin
 
Aerial shot of the team collecting imagery for shoreland restoration
 


Connor reviews the flight plan to prepare for flying autonomously


Aerial view of cabin in northern Wisconsin


Mitchell and Benicio giving a thumbs up on the flight

Discussing autonomous flying with line of sight
 

 
 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

We're Finalists!

 
TATTS received word yesterday that we are finalists for the Drone Social Innovation Award!  The winner of the $10,000 cash prize for "the most socially beneficial, documented use of a drone platform costing less than $3,000" will be announced on September 15th.  Wish us luck!

The full description of the contest and award is available here.

Our video submittal is on our YouTube channel here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Drone Social Innovation Award

The Drone User Group Network is offering a $10,000 cash prize to the most socially beneficial, documented use of a drone. They call it the Drone Social Innovation Award. 

When we saw that "social" was in the title of the award, we couldn't help but think "that's us!"  We at TATTS unabashedly believe that our focus of combining drones with autism/social skills development is the best application of drones for a social good.   We define social as the skills that people on the autism spectrum so desperately need.  A few examples are:
  • Working in a team
  • Turn taking
  • Perspective taking
  • Showing and expressing empathy
  • Making positive comments
We also focus on the development of skills that can assist in the finding and holding of employment.  Drones are a burgeoning industry and young adults on the autism spectrum are a perfect fit from equipment maintenance, flight planning, field execution, and image processing.

Watch our video submittal, like it on YouTube and wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fleet Maintenance - Safety First!

Fleet maintenance is an integral part to all the flying that we do.  Any good drone pilot will tell you that pre and post flight checks keep the pilot, the equipment and all those around them safe.  It's amazing how many little things need a little attention after flying.  Like any aircraft, drones need consistent and meticulous care to ensure they are flight worthy.  To that end, TATTS team members participate in all aspects of maintaining the fleet from battery charging to tightening screws, checking the props, body and all electronics for wear, and ensuring that all electical connections are solid and stable. 

Fleet maintenance is one aspect of civilian drone use where young adults and adults on the autism spectrum are very employable.  After all, skill development that may lead to employment opportunities is a key tenet of TATTS.  Attention to detail and focus are some of our team's many strengths and they take good care of the fleet.

Mitchell charges batteries

DJI has graciously donated 4 additional F550 hexacopters of which we have several built below.  The kids follow a standardized checklist of things to check to ensure the aircrafts are flight worthy so that the team and our surroundings are safe.


Mitchell and Torin checking all the screws (there are over 75 on one drone!) and electrical connections


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We can "fly" underwater too

You probably didn't know it but the sensor we use on one of our drones (a GoPro Hero3 Black Edition) can also go underwater.  Here's a snippet from the air and from below the water.  I guess you could say that the TATTS crew and equipment are both waterproof.  More or less.
 
Above the Water

Below the Water


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wisconsin Life Episode Airs

We are so excited to anounce that the Wisconsin Life episode on the TATTS project is now online and soon to be aired on TV.  Thank you to Wisconsin Public Television for taking the time to come out and hear the TATTS story, meet the kids and experience our flying first hand.

Click
to watch the 5 minute show on our project. 
We're so proud of our kids!
 
Also - keep an eye out for the July 15th publication of Popular Science.  There will be mention of our kids and their project in a drone article.  Spreading the word!