The BEEBOT is designed to be a child-friendly drone
Back in the day, model aviation enthusiasts controlled the skies with their Radio Controlled (RC) planes and helicopters. But now, walk to a nearby open field and you will find that drones have taken over their airspace. The reason is simple: they are smaller, cheaper, more manoeuvrable, and you can attach cameras and other cool stuff to it (China even attached a flamethrower to one).
Daruswat Ike Wattnarojjananikorn, a graduate from Parsons School of Design, wants to make drones even more accessible; by making them so user-friendly even kids as young as eight years old can operate.
The result is BEEBOT, a drone kit made of wood, retailing for US$169 on Kickstarter.
First, most drones have their rotor blades unshielded. BEEBOT, instead, encloses its four pairs of propellers within a shell. But that itself is not impressive as there are many similar quadcopter designs in the market.
What is ingenious about BEEBOT’s design is that it can be taken apart and reattached easily. Each propeller shell is outfitted with magnetic strips on the side. The pilots attach four of these shells together to form a hexagon-shaped unit, place the drone’s motor in the middle, and it’s good for take-off.
One advantage of this is that if the drone falls apart upon crashing, the pilot can simply piece them back together and try again, minimising “Humpty Dumpty” cases (as long as we are not talking ‘Kamikaze-style’ crash landings here).
The magnetic strips also afford the pilots customisation options. Several BEEBOT drones can be attached together to form one giant BEEBOT mothership. What better way to intimidate your rivals who would initially scoff at the minuscular size of a single unit. BEEBOT does not, however, state how many additional drones a mothership can support before it goes down like that destroyer ship in Independence Day.
Each BEEBOT kit comes with a remote control, charger, an extra propeller, and even a paintbrush and watercolour set so pilots can do up some rad custom paint jobs on the drones.
If there are any improvements that can be made to the BEEBOT, I would say there should be a small camera unit — or at least an attachment that can fit an optional camera. Drones are frequently used for aerial photography, so such features should be a given.
Currently, the BEEBOT has only raised US$2,820 out of its targetted US$50,000 funding goal on Kickstarter. So for curious parties looking to toy around with drones, this may be a good start.
Image Credit: BEEBOT
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