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Flyver – Drone Apps

5 Most Interesting Drone Applications, May 2015

1. Runway Fashion Models


Leave it to silicon valley to turn an elitist industry on its head. At Silicon Valley Fashion Week this month, drones were used to showcase clothes instead of living models. While it’s kind of hard to picture how a dress will look just by looking at it on what is basically flying clothes hanger, the valley deserves some points for creativity.

Source: Mashable

2. Crime Fighting


The city of Cape Town, South Africa recently conducted tests of drones equipped with infrared cameras to track suspects fleeing the scene of a crime. The test was deemed a success and in the future we might see widespread drone use in crime fighting. The city administration also intends to use drones in other operations such as fire rescue and disaster relief.

Source: BusinessTech

3. 3D Mapping Cities

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The Singaporean Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has been using drones to create 3D maps of heritage sites for some time now. The project has been quite successful and they are thinking of moving to the next step, mapping out certain areas of cities to monitor how they develop in the future, thus allowing them to better plan how citizens will experience Singapore.

Source: Channel NewsAsia

4. Combining a Quadcopter and a Tank

While a quadcopter’s ability to fly makes it perfect for viewing almost anything, there are some places where flying is simply not an option. Enter Witek Mielniczek, a UK-based product designer and his B-Unstoppable. A remote controlled device which combines a quadcopter with tank-like treads to make for a supreme all-terrain vehicle. If you’re interested in acquiring one of your own, Mielniczek’s project is currently being funded on Kickstarter.

Source: Gizmag

5. Showing Real Estate Property

The Boston Herald published an article detailing how real estate agents in the state of Massachusetts are using drones to show properties. It’s nice to see a traditional industry such as real estate being abreast with the times and seeing the value in new technology such as drones.

Source: Boston Herald

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Guide: How to Start Programming Your Drone

Assembling a drone and getting it off the ground is a pretty complicated process. However , assembling a drone, connecting it to the Flyver SDK, making it programmable and letting it perform autonomous functions is nigh impossible without some help, so we decide to create this nifty guide for the enthusiasts and developers out there who want to start creating and using drone apps.

Getting a drone

There are several possible configurations that work with the Flyver SDK. Depending on what equipment you already have and how much tinkering you’re willing to do, you should decide which one is best for you:

1. The Flyver Devkit

IMG_2154 (1)

This is probably the best option for anyone who wants to start using the Flyver SDK immediately with minimal setup. The kit consists of a DJI Flamewheel F440 ARF Kit, a IOIO OTG Board and a case to attach your phone to the drone. The kit comes at a relatively low cost and you just need to connect all the parts in order to get your SmartDrone off the ground and ready to run apps. Here is a detailed article on how to set up the Flyver Devkit to work with the SDK.

2.  Any Commercially Available Quadcopter

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If you already own a quadcopter and you don’t feel like investing in another one, just to work with drone apps, you’re in luck . Because radio controlled copters have a common base, we decided to benefit from that and create an easily hackable solution for building a software independent layer with the SDK. Any copter that has the following elements is compatible with the SDK:

  • Frame
  • Brushless DC motors
  • Electronic speed controllers (ESCs)
  • Power supply board
  • Radio Control (Transmitter and receiver)
  • Control Board, sensors and GPS
  • Lipo Battery

 

If all those elements are present, you can use the following guide to FlyverHack your copter.

Note: for this configuration you will need a IOIO OTG Board which you can purchase on Sparkfun or Aliexpress.

Smartphone Requirements

These configurations use an android phone as the autopilot that runs all the drone’s apps. The requirement for the phone on which the Flyver SDK runs are as follows:

  • Sensors:
    • accelerometer, gyroscope, compass
      • Recommended MPU-6050 – InvenSense or better
    • recommended: barometer
  • GPS, Wifi, 3G
  • Min Android 4.2
  • Refresh rate of sensors: min 100Hz

Some things to keep track of when using the phone with the drone:

  • is well attached to the drone
  • points at the right forward direction
  • Does not run other intensive applications or services on background
  • Does not allow calls, push notifications and other disturbing services
  • Is NOT in debug mode

In the current state of the Flyver SDK these are the only available configurations, but in the future an external autopilot such as Pixhawk as well as a proprietary SDK configuration will be supported.

The setup is extremely easy.
All the instructions could be found in Flyver’s github

Final Preparations & Taking Flight

Laws

Once you have the drone and SDK set up it’s time to start writing apps, field testing them and teaching your drone to perform autonomous functions. There are many factors to keep in mind when using your drone, however arguably the most important one is legislation. Each country has its own specific set of laws regarding UAV use and its important to know them. Drones already have a bad image in the media, so let’s not make it worse by creating newsworthy accidents.

Flyver already has this nifty guide to UAV laws and regulations in the USA, UK and Canada. Additionlly, a quick Google search about the UAV laws in your country will usually yield satisfying results. Keep in mind however that drone laws are a shifting landscape and have to be kept track of as they undergo major changes relatively often.

For the US-based pilots and developers, here is this convenient map of all the no-fly zones in the country. 

Safety

Safety first! We can’t stress this enough. With all these fast moving parts and the relative difficulty in operating them, drones can create a real danger. When testing apps, you don’t even have that much direct control over the drone, so please whatever you do, make sure that there is no chance of anyone being harmed in the process. Too often we see cases of people with too much enthusiasm and too little information and skill causing serious accidents with their drones.  Some general guidelines to follow:

  • avoid days with strong winds
  • do not fly in bad weather (storms, rain, etc.)
  • always have visual contact with the drone
  • Do not fly in crowded areas
  • avoid flying your drone over people as much as possible
  • if there are protectors for the propellors.. Use them!

 

If you’ve followed through on the guide above, then all your bases should be covered and you’re ready to create apps for drones. Any feedback, comments or ideas are welcome. Leave them in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

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5 Drone Applications that Inspire, Excite and Provoke Discussion

1. Aiding Nepal Earthquake Relief


The Nepal Earthquake was a disaster of magnitude which hasn’t been seen in a while. The rescue and relief workers are scrambling to get supplies and medical aid to everyone because roads have been blocked and many locations are hard to scout for survivors. The organisation GlobalMedic is tasked with solving this problem using its fleet of drones. The main task of GlobalMedic is to create a detailed map of disaster affected areas. Its drones are also equipped with thermal imaging cameras which can detect survivors trapped amongst the rubble.

Source: Fox News

2. Drone Graffiti


Artist Katsu used a drone to paint graffiti over a billboard with Kendall Jenner’s face. There are two ways to look at this story and both are equally exciting. The first is as an act of vandalism. Drones allow graffiti artists to reach spots which they otherwise couldn’t. They also allow them to create graffiti from a distance. The end result is graffiti in unusual and hard to reach/clean places and creators who largely remain untraceable. This could eventually lead to people remotely defacing notable landmarks in order to voice their opinion. The second viewpoint is that of the potential for art here. We already have 3D printers. You give them a shape and they produce it. Now imagine if you could give a sketch to a drone and it would graffiti it autonomously on a wall. This could make decorating building so much easier, cheaper and more precise.

Source: Core 77

3. GTA 2 in Real Life


This one is nothing but pure awesome. Anyone remember the 2D view from above of GTA 2? It gave the game a much less realistic and serious feel. Thanks to a group of old-school GTA fans we now have this video of GTA 2 in real life. How did they do it? A drone and a very skilled pilot.

Source: The Verge

4. Saving Florida’s Avocado


Florida’s avocado plants are in danger. A disease called laurel could rapidly destroy most of their population. A combination of its fast spreading and difficulties in detecting it before it’s too late make it a real threat. Thankfully, farmers have come up with a decision using drones and dogs. Drones armed with thermal cameras can detect areas where trees are stressed by the onset of laurel. Dogs are then sent in to more precisely tell which trees are infected with the disease. If you’re a fan of Guacamole (and who isn’t ) you can rejoice, knowing that drones are out there protecting your favorite dip.

Source: AP

5. Streaming Live to Youtube

Using its Lightbridge technology, DJI allows users of the Phantom 3 to stream 4K video directly to Youtube in real time. The possibilities here are endless and a bit horrifying. Paparazzi, please don’t exploit this. We want to keep having nice things!

Source: BBC

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Flyver Starter Resources Guide

The Flyver family has seen quite a bit of growth in the last few days. If you’re one of our new followers or fans, welcome! This guide is meant to provide you with everything you need to get started using the SDK and keeping track of Flyver news.

Flyver SDK GitHub – Here you can find the current version of the SDK along with the apps developed until now

Flyver SDK Wiki – The Wiki contains the SDK’s requirements along with tutorials on how to run and utilise its various functions

Flyver Devkit – If you want to start writing drone apps, but don’t feel like tinkering with your drone or don’t own such, the Flyver DevKit offers a good alternative. It’s practically ready to fly and requires you to simply plug your phone in. Moreover, we are selling the DevKit at no profit because we want to make it easier for developers to get the tools they need to write drone apps. Additionally, here are the requirements for your Android device

Flyver Blog – The Flyver blog is updated on a weekly basis, actually this post is also a part of it. On the blog we post all news regarding the development of the Flyver SDK along with various features on the future of drones and the drone apps market.

Flyver Mailing List – We send a monthly newsletter to subscribers of our mailing list, summarising all the developments that have happened in the meantime.

Flyver Forum – This is the place where you can ask questions and the Flyver team will answer. Additionally any and all discussion is encouraged!

Drone Apps Subreddit – Flyver hosts a subreddit on the topic of Drone Apps. Discussion here is not limited to the Flyver SDK and any contribution, regardless of whether a question or link is appreciated. Our goal here is to provoke discussion on the topic of drone apps, autonomous drones, drone programming and the like.

Armed with these resources, you should be able to start programming your drone using the Flyver SDK with no trouble. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to ask in the comments below!

 

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Top 5 Drone Apps of the Week, April 27th

1. Follow your Child to School


Overbearing dads around the world rejoice! The world has taken another step forward in letting you have complete control over your daughter’s life and it includes drones. A man named Chris Early from Knoxville, Tennessee decided to use his drone to follow his daughter all the way to school, making sure no harm or ill-meaning boys come to her. Of course, this was all done within the realm of humour and Mr. Early stated that he doesn’t intend to do this on a regular basis, however we must commend his creativity.

Source: KnowTechie

2. Tracking Dinosaur Steps

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A team of researchers from the University of Queensland found a way to use the technology of the future to uncover the ancient past. Using a drone, the team is making footage which will later be processed into a 3D model of the steps that dinosaurs would take through the West Kimberley coats. The advantages of using this method instead of manually looking for dinosaur steps is that they are often hidden in uneven and jagged rock terrains which makes them hard to spot from the ground.

Source: Mashable

3. Mapping Ocean Trash

A Swiss team of scientists is using drones to map the presence and accumulation of trash in the world’s largest bodies of water – the oceans. The team is using a drone with a special lens, which shows the presence of plastic very clearly in recorded footage. The drone is deployed in uninhabited beaches all around the world to record the varying levels of pollution across the globe.

Source: Ecorazzi

4. Mail Delivery

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It seems like mass drone delivery is finally going to become a reality this summer, however not at the hands of Amazon, but rather the Swiss Postal Service. In combination with the Matternet drone company, the Swiss Postal Service will start drone delivery trials in certain regions this summer. Should they be successful, two more stages of testing will be necessary before the service makes it to end-consumers. Initially the drones will deliver packages that weigh up to 1 kilogram, however with the advances in technology, bigger objects will also become a possibility.

Source: T3

5. Photography Lighting

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As any photographer or camera operator can tell you, framing a shot so that none of the tons of equipment is in the frame can be quite limiting. One of the problem is that in order to position lights in certain positions, a lot of large and heavy equipment is necessary. Professional lighting company Falcon Eyes is aiming to solve that problem with the Falcon Fly. Basically, the Fly is a drone equipped with LED lights on it’s bottom side. This allows it to provide direct lighting from above without the need for elaborate structures. Currently ti’s only a project, but with enough interest, Falcon Eyes might just turn it into a reality

 Source: Pro Video Coalition

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