Massdrop recently had the crazyflie from bitcraze up as a drop. It looked intriguing to me… An entirely open-source, hackable, nano, quad-copter, drone small enough to fly around my home. The platform is built entirely on open-source, and client-side applications are written in python. The concept sounds too cool to be missed. Indeed, this kind of thing is the future (more on that later). A video game controller (like PS3 or Xbox), a computer (anything that can run their VM), a micro-USB power charger, the crazyradio, and the crazyflie are all you need to be skyward.
For general flying and even tinkering, it sounds like the crazyflie platform is completely accessible. Maybe even easy enough for a layman. Well, I’m going to see if it is…
Truth be told, I’m a little better off than a layman actually. I have a basic electronics understanding (I can tell a resistor from a capacitor) and I have a modicum of skill soldering. I work as a software engineer and I have done some python scripting and C/C++ programming. I also have a lot of experience with linux systems (even more with Mac OS X). I built a couple R/C cars when I was much (much) younger. I am not, by any means, an expert in any field and I sure haven’t had any experience with flight dynamics, 2.4GHz radios, micro-electronics, embedded systems, firmware, or hardware, in general.
This then feels like my challenge. Am I keen enough to understand this platform more deeply than just a flying toy? Does a “layman” have the capacity, these days, to pick up an extremely complex system off the shelf and master it. Even more, can he bend it to his will or even simply understand things well enough to try?
I bought one. It might end up being a remote control toy I fly around the house sometimes. I’m hoping it will be more. I’m hoping it will be something I can dive into and swim around in for a while. Something I can endeavor to understand well enough to prove to myself that I can still learn, explore, and grow simultaneously.
This has been my discovery of crazyflie.