Craig Rowe

Techlead / Developer

11th August 2013

NodeCopter Southampton 2013

Hack Days are awesome. How could they not be? you get to make stuff with like minded people with no bosses, no client deadlines, no point but the love of it.

The best way to make a hack day more awesome? throw in some hardware so we all feel like the mechanical/electrical/aeronautical engineers that at heart we really wish we were.

Can that be made more fun? yeh probably if you throw in a super power few of us would turn down... FLYING!

The venue

SoMakeIt's southampton maker space has been around for a few months now and is a venture I fully support. Essentially a pooled group workshed it can act as a hub for tech activity in the Southampton area facilitating knowledge sharing and providing a venue for organised workshops.

The Tech

The drones that we got to play with were accessible via WiFi (and controllable by some 'off the shelf' mobile apps). Conveniently there is a node package that allows those of us who've coded for the web (surely almost all devs out there have done at least some) to communicate with and control the quad copter with js.

The copters also have an HD camera on the front and automatic hovering after take off.

The project

Our project was relatively simple. Teach the copter to read.

Much simpler than it sounds a few choice npm packages (nodecr, express) and we were on our way. If you'd like to see the code it's available on github. It's really simple but hopefully looks impressive:

I've got to be honest... I'm incredibly tempted to get hold of one of these copters since spending the day with them.


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