eye3: The Robotic Copter That You Can Afford

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UPDATE: Kickstarter has cancelled funding for eye3 due to delayed deliveries, skepticism that the drone will actually work and suspicion that the eye3 kit is actually pieced together from other kits already sold online. See IEEE Spectrum.

(Thanks to SH readers PatrikD and okiski!)

The eye3 can carry up to 12 pounds of camera equipment for your aerial photography pleasure.
The Holidays may have come and gone, but that’s no reason not to get your hands on the robotic hexacopter eye3. Kickstarter Kellie Sigler and her husband have been working out the kinks (and crashes) for the past two years to optimize the drone for reliable flying so you and I don’t have to. And the best thing is you don’t need a military-sized budget to purchase one.

Targeting cinematographers, journalists, scientists and hobbyists, the eye3 isn’t just a toy but packs enough power to hoist weighty (and expensive) 35mm dSLR cameras or even 16mm motion picture cameras with mounts. It has a durable, high precision carbon and glass fiber frame that weighs just half a kilogram. It uses the popular APM2 open source autopilot platform. Each of the six rotors is powered by a 350-watt motor. The six rotor design is a safety measure: two rotors can fail and the copter will still be brought back safely.

For $999 you get the basic hexacopter kit, which is the minimum you need to fly. You won’t get the autopilot, and you’ll need to provide your own radio controller. For $1,499 the full autopilot is added, and for $2,499 you get the top package that includes the controller and a handy carrying case for the robocopter.

Think about how much fun you’re going to have while watching the eye3 in the video below. For one thing, it definitely scoots faster through the air than Sigler’s calming, tranquil narrative. The accompanying piano is pretty incongruous with the hexacopter action as well. But that’s fine. They build it, we play with it, and next thing you know we’re causing all sorts of mischief.

Ain’t flying robots fun?

[image credits: Kickstarter]

images: eye3
video: eye3

Peter Murray was born in Boston in 1973. He earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore studying gene expression in the neocortex. Following his dissertation work he spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the same university studying brain mechanisms of pain and motor control. He completed a collection of short stories in 2010 and has been writing for Singula...

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