Wired’s long-time editor in chief, Chris Anderson, announced on Friday that he was leaving the magazine to become CEO of his DIY-drone company, 3D Robotics. This move comes a month after the release of his latest book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. In an interview last week (and a brief follow-up after Friday’s announcement), Anderson talked with me about today’s biggest revolution in how and where we actually make things. If the last few decades have been about big digital forces — the Internet, social media — he notes that the future will be about applying all of that in the real world. “Wondrous as the Web is,” he writes, “it doesn’t compare to the real world. Not in economic size (online commerce is less than 10 percent of all sales) and not in its place in our lives. The digital revolution has been largely limited to screens.” But, he adds, the salient fact remains that “we live in homes, drive in cars, and work in offices.” And it is that physical part of the economy that is undergoing the biggest and most fundamental change.
Last week you may have seen the news that I’m going to be leaving Wired to lead 3D Robotics full time as CEO. Now I’m delighted to announce our other exciting news: last week we closed a $5+ million funding round with two premier firms, which will allow us to accelerate the growth of 3DR and expand into new markets.
The round was led by Jon Callaghan at True Ventures and Bryce Roberts of O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. Both of them will be joining the 3DR board. These are two of the most far-seeing VCs in the Valley, and both are part of the “hardware is the new software” trend, including investments in Fitbit, Makerbot, Littlebits and Instructables. And they share our vision of the power of open source, the Maker movement and personal robotics. Chris Michel, an investor and long-time entrepreneur (and former Naval Flight Officer) will also be joining as an investor and board member.
I’ll be opening an office in the SF Bay Area (“3DR North”), which will focus on sales/marketing and community development. Our San Diego headquarters will continue to be the R&D and engineering center, while our Tijuana manufacturing is expanding to handle more and more of our production. My co-founder, Jordi Munoz, will take over the role of President, overseeing operations.
Spatially Targeted Communication and Self-Assembly,” by Nithin Mathews, Anders Lyhne Christensen, Rehan O’Grady, and Marco Dorigo, from Universite Libre de Bruxelles and Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, was presented at IROS 2012 in Vilamoura, Portugal.
Today Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, announced that he will be leaving Condé Nast at the end of the year to become CEO of 3D Robotics, a company he cofounded several years ago. “This is an opportunity for me to pursue an entrepreneurial dream,” Chris said. “I’m confident that Wired’s mission to influence and chronicle the digital revolution is stronger than ever and will continue to expand and evolve.”
Chris joined Wired as editor in chief in 2001. During his tenure, the magazine received eight National Magazine Awards, including the prestigious top prize for General Excellence in 2005, 2007 and 2009. In 2010, Adweek honored Wired as its Magazine of the Decade.
As with every brand that challenges the current times and predicts the future, Wired will now embark on the next phase of its quest to determine “what will matter.” Please join me in thanking Chris for his extraordinary contributions to the Wired franchise. We wish him the best of luck in his new venture and look forward to naming his successor shortly.
I have four children, all with very different interests. My second-youngest, Christopher, age 13, has always liked technology. And last weekend he and I went to see the wild, wacky and creative technology (and other things) on display at the Maker Faire in New York.
I had told the organizers I could give a talk. But a week or so before the event, Christopher told me he thought what I planned to talk about wasn’t as interesting as it could be. And that actually he could give some demos that would be a lot more interesting and relevant.
Christopher has been an avid Mathematica user for years now. And he likes hookingMathematica up to interesting devices—with two recent favorites being Arduino boards and quadricopter drones.
And so it was that last Sunday I walked onto a stage with him in front of a standing-room-only crowd of a little over 300 people, carrying a quadricopter. (I wasn’t trusted with the Arduino board.)
How big can the Maker Movement get? Can it really restart a manufacturing renaissance in America? Will desktop fabrication have as much impact as desktop computing did? Bre Pettis (MakerBot) and Chris Anderson (Wired/3D Robotics, author of Makers) discuss the lessons learned in building big Maker businesses, and give a glimpse of where they think this movement is going.
This video shows three quadrocopters cooperatively tossing and catching a ball with the aid of an elastic net.
To toss the ball, the quadrocopters accelerate rapidly outward to stretch the net tight between them and launch the ball up. Notice in the video that the quadrocopters are then pulled forcefully inward by the tension in the elastic net, and must rapidly stabilize in order to avoid a collision. Once recovered, the quadrotors cooperatively position the net below the ball in order to catch it.
Because they are coupled to each other by the net, the quadrocopters experience complex forces that push the vehicles to the limits of their dynamic capabilities.
Our Brian Fung brings word that Iran has a drone, and I think it’s reasonable not to worry about it, per se.
But let’s talk about the (very) near future.
Drones are not like the atomic bomb. There won’t be a day when suddenly we realize that a horrible new weapon has changed the world forever. Instead, one day we’ll wake up and there’ll have been a terrorist attack by a swarm of drones launched by hand from a park across the Potomac from Washington, DC, and no one will know where they came from or who sent them. We’ll wake up one day to a drone peering in our window as preparation for a common burglary.
The price of these unmanned aerial vehicles is plummeting from two sides. On the one hand, you’ve got the toys like the $70 iHelicopter you control with an iPhone. This little guy even has two plastic missiles you can fire!
…“The upshot of all this is that it’s not going to take much to procure a drone and do anything you want with it. And if you try to outlaw them, then, well, only the outlaws (and government) will have drones.
To me, the best parallel is the improvised explosive device, the IED. This weapon gives every army/police force fits because the tech is cheap and commodity and its action is at a distance. What’s going to stop anyone from turning a cheap drone into a flying IED? Or a swarm of cheap drones into flying IEDs? What’s to stop your neighbor from hovering one above his house and streaming HD video of the neighborhood?…
Flying Robots NYC Meetup Group Announces Inaugural Flying Robot Competition
Sponsors include 3DRobotics, Adafruit, Falkor Systems, and xCubicle
The Flying Robots NYC meetup group today announced the inaugural Flying Robots NYC competition, to be held in Brooklyn on October 20th. The Flying Robots NYC competition is a project of the Flying Robots NYC Meetup group in order to promote the development of low-cost consumer-accessible flying robot technology. The contest will be held at the Radio Control Society of Marine Park’s field in Marine Park, Brooklyn. Winning contestants will receive valuable prizes provided by the event sponsors.
During the contest competitors will test their flying robots along a number of varied dimensions. Robots will compete on their ability to carry heavy objects and stay aloft for long periods of time. Competitors will also test their ability to build robots that can fly autonomously, sometimes using satellite-based navigation and other times navigating using machine vision technology.
“Competitions are a great way to build local community around new technology,” said Chris Anderson, founder of 3DRobotics, the primary sponsor of the competition, “so we are happy to support the Flying Robots NYC competition.” The first place competitor will receive an open source autopilot system courtesy of 3DRobotics.
“Then open source hardware movement has made flying robot technology accessible to everyone, not just the police and military,” said Sameer Parekh, C.E.O. of group sponsor Falkor Systems, Inc. “This technology has the potential to change the way we live and enrich our lives. Over the next few years more and more people will develop flying robot technology, and they will deploy many robots in commercial applications.”
The Flying Robots NYC group draws extensively from supporters in the local electronics technology community, including support from local sponsors such as Adafruit and xCubicle. Adafruit has offered discounts on their entire catalog to members of the Flying Robots NYC community, and xCubicle has been providing meeting space for group members to meet, plan, and get to know one another.
3DRobotics is the leading vendor of Ardupilot hardware and related accessories. 3DRobotics has already shipped more than 10,000 autopilots. By their estimates, 3D Robotics’ customers are flying more drones than the total number operated by the US military.
Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Since then Adafruit has grown to over 25 employees in the heart of New York City. Adafruit has expanded their offerings to include tools and equipment that Limor personally selects, tests and approves. Adafruit has one of the largest collections of free electronics tutorials, open-source hardware and software to help educate and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
About Falkor Systems
Falkor Systems, Inc. is an early-stage startup developing autonomous flying robots for the commercial market. The company’s founder / CEO is a successful entrepreneur whose first company developed a pioneering product development strategy which led the United States government to substantially restructure its technology export control policy. The company eventually sold to Red Hat, Inc.
xCubicle is a tech shop by day and a hackerspace by night. Conveniently located in Manhattan, they cater to the tech meetup community and host innovative talks in small group settings.
For decades, academic and industry researchers have been working on control algorithms for autonomous helicopters — robotic helicopters that pilot themselves, rather than requiring remote human guidance. Dozens of research teams have competed in a series of autonomous-helicopter challenges posed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI); progress has been so rapid that the last two challenges have involved indoor navigation without the use of GPS.
But MIT’s Robust Robotics Group — which fielded the team that won the last AUVSI contest — has set itself an even tougher challenge: developing autonomous-control algorithms for the indoor flight of GPS-denied airplanes. At the 2011 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), a team of researchers from the group described an algorithm for calculating a plane’s trajectory; in 2012, at the same conference, they presented an algorithm for determining its “state” — its location, physical orientation, velocity and acceleration. Now, the MIT researchers have completed a series of flight tests in which an autonomous robotic plane running their state-estimation algorithm successfully threaded its way among pillars in the parking garage under MIT’s Stata Center.
This platform overview video shows quadrotors in flight, fixed wing hardware in the loop simulation and a novel experimental aircraft. It also introduces all PX4 hardware modules (available from 3D Robotics).
Update: For some reason the video is now marked private
Hi all, some weeks ago while I was watching a Formula1 race I started to think in this idea, why not develop a Formula1 shape quadcopter? I was thinking about the best way to fit the shape of an F1 car with a quadcopter and then I started to work on this. With red coroplast plastic and a scissors I made the shape of the car (profile shape) and then I print some stickers from images of the car and this was the result…