Saturday, June 22, 2013

These Kids Are Flying!

Several weeks back we were finally able to get to a wide open park and give the kids a chance to fly the hexarotor.  Some of the kid's background comments (and the parents too) are awesome.

No fancy editing here, just 4 1/2 minutes of raw footage of the kids taking turns.  We didn't have the 'buddy box' working either (that would give the kids their own radio to be able to fly) so we did a bit of hand over hand during flying.  It worked ok.  No crash landings and lots of ooohs and aaahs.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Aerial HD Video - Now THAT'S a way to see the world

Last weekend we finally were able to fly the hexarotor with HD video onboard.  The kids loved it, and I think the parents did as well!   The video is 1080 resolution and looks absolutely fantastic on a big LCD/plasma flat screen.  Wow.  All that remains regarding equipment is adding the real time video and goggles.  I'm convinced that this will be an immersive experience that will really impact them.  One step at a time though.

With the equipment in place, we could finally begin getting at our goal of giving the kids concrete examples of perspective taking.  We started the session talking about what a bird sees from the air.  The kids had great ideas that ranged from trees, mice and even us, to clouds, other birds, houses and cars.  We also talked about what we should do while our bird (i.e., the hexarotor) is in the air and we agreed upon both 'playing dead' and using our bodies to make an arrow on the ground.  The Harlem Shake was a distant third.

Following the discussion, the kids were asked to draw a picture of what they thought the area we were in would look like from the air.  After flying, we returned home to watch the stunning HD video.  The kids then drew another picture to show what they now understood the area to look like.  The before and after pictures really showcase what they learned from flying.

Here are 4 BEFORE maps and several pictures.  Some have pretty good detail about what they might see while others are highly focused on a particular thing (e.g, the human arrow) or broad generalizations.


Here are a few AFTER maps.  It was fun to watch their reactions when seeing the video.  They all picked out different things.  There were a good many oohhs and aahhs as well.  Note that after flying, we see the presence of the horizon, lots of trees, and an extensive level of detail throughout.  Some kids were not in the mood to draw but we heard similiar things from them as the watched the video.



Here are a few pictures of the flight, watching the video and our "human arrow". 

And a video compilation of the flight from the ground and from the air.


Monday, June 3, 2013

View From Above

We got adventurous today and strapped a colleague's smartphone to the belly of the TATTS hexarotor and took it for a test flight in the park.  Very cool.  It was breezy so the hex was jumping around a bit but overall it was pretty impressive.  Looking down at the grass is a bit boring but once we have the landing gear, gimbal and GoPro in place we'll be able to move the camera at different angles.  Then we'll really be cooking.  The kids are absolutely going to love it!

Those 3 tiny dots are Dan, Ben and I.  Ben is the guy making "snow angels" in the grass.  I'm glad to see the hex brings out the kid in all of us.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

It flies!

After a working session with the distributor (and replacement of a key part that was bad) I'm proud to say that the TATTS hexarotor is flight worthy.  This thing really works!  We've had it up in the air for several test flights.  Check 'em out below. 

Next weekend we will have the TATTS team together and they'll all get a chance to fly it.  From there we're moving on to phase 3.  Shortly I'll be ordering the extended landing gear, a gimbal (to hold the video camera), the first person view video camera (for real-time footage back to some goggles), the FatShark goggles and a GoPro camera.  Once we have that installed, we'll be in business.

First Attempt - Note the Long Grass