Kostiantyn Borysov is the creator of Knuckles 5, a multi-faceted, one-handed drone controller.
Drones are a big business in the U.S. Of the nearly 2 million drones registered with the FAA, about 1.3 million of them are recreational drones. There are currently over 200,000 certified remote pilots. By 2025, it is estimated that the market for commercial drones will exceed $13 billion per year (Stastica). So Knuckles 5 made a prime time entry at CES 2021, with some promising new developments in accessibility and functionality.
Designed initially around the idea of a flight stick, Knuckles 5 utilizes a single 5 button, 3 analog joystick with eight axes, and two modes. The device features two trackballs – one moved by the index finger and the other by the thumb – to control a drone along a combined four axes. Two more axes controlled by a mini-joystick, and another two axes by an IMU (inertial measurement unit) that picks up controller tilt. Using GUI (graphical user interface), it is technically possible to have 19 possible axes or 40 different buttons configured through the custom set up feature – all controllable with one hand. Borysov said the controller also provides for faster drone control than current controllers offer.
Still under development, the controller will be able to potentially control everything from pocket drones to commercial UAVs. And more intriguingly, the controller makes it possible to control two drones at the same time. Knuckles 5 opens up drone flying to people with disabilities, and Borysov is currently seeking people to test the device. While designed for flying drones the controller can also be used for video game play.
Knuckles 5 is expected to be available some time this year, and will retail at around $250 to $300. Visit the company’s website to learn more.
Flir created a minor sensation few years ago with the Flir One thermal imaging attachment for smartphones costing only a few hundred bucks. Building on this, Flir have launched the Duo, a dual sensor compact camera designed to be carried by drones. John gives Todd a quick demo of the new Duo and see if you can spot the GNC cameraman.
The Flir Duo combines both visible light and thermal sensors into a single camera which can be carried by any drone that attaches GoPro cameras. The visible resolution is full HD at 1920 x 1080, whereas the thermal camera is only 160 x 120. This might seem poor but the resolution of thermal imaging tends to be much lower. Flir has a nice trick called MSX blending where the visible and thermal images are combined to give more detailed pictures. There’s a demo here.
There a two versions, the Duo and Duo R, with the latter providing calibrated radiometric temperature measurements, i.e. it can tell accurately how hot an object is. The Duo is priced at US$999 and the Duo R is $1,299. Available now.
Flir have partnered with drone makers Autel Robotics and paired their Duo with the X-Star Premium drone for an all-in-one package including customised flight software. Oddly the package appears to be available only to US military and no word on price.
Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.
Parrot had a lot of different types of remote controlled drones at CES 2014. One of them was called the Jumping Sumo. The Sumo is a small remote-controlled device that can turn on a dime. Controlled with your smartphone or tablet, you can use two finger gestures to turn and control. The camera on the Sumo allows for 1st person view.
The jumping sumo has two large wheels that can push together for better control. It’s big feature, though, is the fact you can push a button and have the sumo jump up in the air — approximately 2-3 feet up.
The sumo can also be controlled up to 160 feet away with the mobile tether. The VGA (320×240) image returns to the device so you can see what it does.
RC Logger introduces an affordable unit that will let you get started in the remote control aircraft hobby on a budget. RC Logger has set out to find the sweet spot with a $79 unit that has the range and performance that challenge the bigger units and provide affordable entry into the RC pilot club.
The unit has a learning mode to allow you to start slowly. After you build your skills, there’s a more aggressive sport setting. Flight times are about 7-8 minutes. The unit will go about 20 mph and with a 915 Mhz system you could easily run it out of sight before it will run out of range. It recharges from a USB in about 20 minutes. More details at RCLogger.com
TPN Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDRNews.com
There are some products that are shown at CES that are just cool and everyone who is a kid at heart just wants, the AR. Drone by Parrot is one of those gadgets. This year at CES 2012 they introduced AR. Drone Mark 2. The Mark 2 (aka AR. Drone 2.0) is controlled by a smart phone or tablet. It has a one button launch. Once it is launched it will sit and hove till the next command. The AR. Drone Mark 2 can fly up to 150 feet in the air, or as far as wi-fi will allow. AR. Drone Mark 2 has stabilization and pressure sensor technology built into it. On the front is an HD camera and a standard def camera on the bottom. You can stream and record the video back to the phone via wi-fi. The video can then be uploaded to your favorite social site, including YouTube and Facebook.
It come with two hulls one for in home use and one for outdoor use. It is built to take some crashes, but if something breaks you can get replacement parts are on-line. The AR. Drone Mark 2 should be available according to Peter George of Parrot in the second quarter of 2012 for about $299.00
Once you are finished playing with the AR. Drone Mark 2, you may want to relax with a little music and some quiet time, well Parrot has you covered there too. They are introducing a pair of stereo cordless headsets that are noise canceling called the Parrot Zik . They work over either Bluetooth or the included cord. They run on a chargeable battery and give about 5 hours of listening pleasure. Once the battery runs down you can continue listening by connecting the cord. What makes the Parrot Zik headphones stand out besides the great style by French designer Philippe Starck are the controls on the headphones. There is a sensitive touchpad on the headphone which allows you to skip back and forth thru tracks by swiping right or left and control volume by swiping up and down. The headphones fold down flat to fit into a small carrying case. There is no price or launch date at this time, but they should be available sometime in 2012 at various retailers. All together Parrot introduced seven new products at CES 2012, including three additional products in the car environment and the asteroid marketplace. You can take a look at all of them at their Web site Parrot.