Hexakopter: remote-control helicopter puts on amazing aerial display
By Jeff Salton
February 23, 2010
We've seen the value of using multiple rotors in unmanned microcopters like the CyberQuad, DraganFlyer X8 and more recently Parrot's AR.Drone. The HexaKopter is another case in point - the 1.2kg, six-rotor device has a flight-time of up to 36 minutes and can carry around 1kg along with a high-definition camera that delivers some amazing images. And it's also a lot of fun.
Creator by Holger Buss says the HexaKopter is easy to fly, robust and has plenty of applications, from aerial photography, environmental measuring and as a toy.
Buss, who has a pretty big following around the world, has taken lots of video (like the one below) to show off his devices, of which the Hexakopter is but one.
Apart from aerial photography, environmental measurements, we think the military might be vaguely interested in the maneuverability of this device too. It’s stability control is nothing short of amazing – as demonstrated in his latest videos.
What makes this device special is the built-in GPS locator that allows it to be programmed via a laptop with a "home" location (which automatically returns it to from where it was launched). Using an aerial map on the laptop with the flight control software, Buss demonstrates how easy it is to program different waypoints on the map and have the microcopter travel to each one in sequence. The laptop also beeps when each waypoint is reached. This would make it easy photograph or film various events in a single short flight.
An altitude control algorithm allows you to control the height of the device (nicknamed the MK) so hovering is a breeze ... even in a breeze. It also has inbuilt stabilizers to deal with wind correction, roll, etc. “Pilots” can also remotely adjust the camera angle to deliver the best possible video footage, which could be very interesting if you having a dogfight with another MK owner.
The MK has a Wiki page which lists all the components and “how-to's” that allow hobbyists to build their own personal MKs.
Parts for the build-it-yourself flyer are available at the MikroKopter site.
No doubt Buss makes flying the MK look dead easy, but it appears to be great fun and a good business tool for some clever entrepreneurs.