As a group and individuals we have agreed that quadcopter will be one of the bigger technological milestones, and were enthused by the diverse and broad set of applications for the quadcopter technology, in general. However, we have discovered a deficiency in systems integration with the hardware and thus, decided to explore the Parrot AR Drone.
What it does
The question in some way is flawed in that it is asking simply, 'what it does?'. Truthfully answering, it does not do anything, or at least anything immediately impactful or seen. Similarly, the idea of Galileo of a heliocentric solar system, where the earth revolves around the Sun. It did not mean anything, and worse, was treated as a sin. Although, time has proven this concept to be true, nothing would change the fact that it was under appreciated. Akin to the past, drones and drone technology are treated negatively through bureaucracy and media . What 'it' does is systems integration of state-of-the-art-technology with drones? And I reckon to be less impactful or inspirational than others, is a major milestone with technologies. The ability to interact with a multitude of new technologies creating a new platform and level of interaction with drones and those alike are some of it's most immediate doings.
How I built it
This forward-looking hack was built using Node.JS, Parrot AR Drone 2.0 SDK and Parrot Drone, Myo, and Azure. More importantly, it could not have been built as well as it is without help and support from my peers.
Challenges I ran into
Challenges have brought both excitement and angst to the Hackathon expeience. OpenCV, interacting with Muse and the Myo has provided us the mental challenge for which we have come to MHacks. Initially we wanted to create a program that will allow the drone to follow a person safely front-view, and capture images and film, as well as serve as a security measure to be used for interacting with the police or others in the case of an emergency. We had much difficulty integrating facial recognition software to the drone for it to be able to navigate safely, and thus have chosen not to pursue it. Similar difficulties were faced with the Muse, however, was different, as it was an inherent problem with the input sensitivity and accuracy of the Muse to be engineered and designed for safety. Adamantly wanting to be successful, we persevered with the Myo Armband to be able to interface with the Drone with accuracy. Numerous test cases were used to study the most accurate gesture to be used for the most critical phases of the flight, and programmed the Parrot AR Drone to respond likewise. We can sincerely say, that the end justified the means all through times of difficulty and accomplishment.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Given that we had many challenges, one major milestone was the ability to automate the flight using Node.JS and perform 3D acrobatics with ease.
What I learned
This has been a behemoth roller coaster ride, brought by new experiences and new knowledge. We have learned many things from one drone. This ranges from Node.JS, learning to use the Myo, and most fun, how to fly a quadcopter. We were amazed that we learned many aspects in back-end and server and diverse database servers in the market for hosting.
What's next for Hello Drone!
Taking up a challenge of tackling systems integration from the base case of a large scope offers broad impacts The next level of Hello Drone is to implement a 'higher level of recursion.' Applications such as topographical mapping, live video streaming for cloud services. Topographical mapping will revolutionized the geodetic and infrastructure industry by being given an alternative open system to map the world around them in 3D. This would make surveying land boundaries and mapping at-large, more affordable, detailed, and direct to end users. To further this, it will continue on to provide detailed infrastructure studies giving means for us to engineer the optimal location of infrastructures regarding traffic. These cloud services would enable any end-users to have the experience of a drone owner/enthusiast as well as an opportunity to view the world with a completely different perspective, for adventurers and explorers alike. New angles and automated operation of the drone would also be highly transferrable to the film industry, whether you are a film enthusiast or a professional film maker. In turn, reducing costs to redundant private bird's eye view filming. The future for Hello Drone is boundless!