Join editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams as they recount a week of fascinating hacks. We take a good look at the PMS150C, a microcontroller that literally costs pennies but can only be flashed once. SNES emulators have a new trick up their sleeves to make low-def a lot less low, and you retro enthusiasts will either hate or love the NES zapper chandelier. Elliot’s enamored by a bike computer running Android core, and both Mike and Elliot delve into the food hacking scene, be it meat, chocolate, coffee, or of course frosting!
Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!
Fixed-wing planes and helicopters are no longer the darling of the RC world. Even quadcopters and other multirotors are starting to look old hat, as the community looks to ever more outrageous designs. [rctestflight] has slimmed things down to the extreme with this coaxial bicopter build, also known as the Flying Stick (Youtube video, embedded below).
The initial design consists of two brushless outrunner motors fitted with props, rotating in opposite directions to cancel out their respective torques. Each is mounted on a gimbal, setup to provide control authority. iNav is used as a flight controller, chosen due to its versatile motor mixing settings. The craft was built to test its ability at recovery from freefall, as a follow-on from earlier attempts at building a brushless “rocket” craft.
Performance is surprisingly good for what is fundamentally two props on a stick. Initial tests didn’t quite manage a successful recovery, but the repaired single-gimbal version almost achieves the feat. Multirotors in general struggle with freefall recovery, so more research in this area is definitely worthwhile. Video after the break.
RCExplorer, or [David], or just ‘The Swede’, has come up with a bicopter kit. Yes, there are a lot of people making frames and kits for quadcopter, multicopters, drones, and so forth, but [David] is really the leader in weird multicopters. Now, we have the weirdest multicopter imaginable as a kit, complete with firmware that works.
Like [David]’s earlier tricopter kits, this frame is made entirely out of carbon fiber plate, square tube, and threaded standoffs. It also looks like batman’s drone. The firmware — the real trick for a bicopter — is stock betaflight, and there are a few problems with the stock firmware. The bicopter doesn’t like flying backwards, tuning is fiddly, and it’s harder to fly than a quad on rails. That’s to be expected with a platform as weird as a bicopter, but this kit does open the door to firmware developers hacking and making the bicopter features better.
While pure bicopters are great, the release of what will surely be a popular bicopter with a good community of firmware developers means the door is open to a simple VTOL fixed wing, not unlike a V-22 Osprey.
Remember, San Francisco tech bros, if you need a delivery drone, you need three things: long range, VTOL capability, and payload capacity. A quad or hexacopter will not get you there, and fixed wings will give you lift for free. There is no Moore’s Law for batteries, and right now if you want to ship a bottle of shampoo 20 miles in 30 minutes, the way to do that is with a drone that looks like a V-22 Osprey. Please, delivery drone bros, learn physics, use a tilt-rotor, and learn to put the battery in the wing. This is how you found a company that will get an easy $100M valuation.