News & Events to Inspire STEAM Education

Flying Quadcopters with High School Students at Garden Grove Library

Flying Quadcopters with High School Students at Garden Grove Library

Nov 2, 2014

In a recent Qgits adventure, we organized a quadcopter demonstration for several high school students at a local Orange County library who have never seen these devices in person before. The rising, widespread use of remote controlled aerial devices made this a perfect opportunity to introduce the capabilities of these flying vehicles to people that have only heard about these things it on the news. The hands-on experience was led by Kim Nielsen and Stuart Stevenson from a Venice-based multirotor products company known as Ctrl.Me Robotics. We sat down with them for a fireside chat which can be seen in the video below:

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During the Ctrl.Me presentation, Kim and Stuart showed how professional filmmakers are currently utilizing these types of technologies to gain previously unreachable perspectives that can now be grasped by flying cameras steadily through the air.

This Venice-based UAV company has delt with a lot of well-known brands and celebrities. For instance, Beyonce is among one of the people who have consulted with Ctrl.Me in the past. During that time working on the ‘Beyonce project’, Ctrl.Me Robotics’ engineers produced a custom quadcopter that captured amazing views that only a drone can achieve while at a performance of the 2014 Video Music Awards (VMAs). The multirotor vehicle that was made was fashioned out out a carbon fiber material and was designed to protect anyone (and itself) from unexpected collisions. Rarely does an incident like this happen, but if it did, it was necessary to ensure that a high-profile artist like Beyonce was not harmed in any way. Their specialized remote controlled quadcopter was able to address all those issues of safety and durability in a creative way that was polished off with a nice slick design that was laser cut in their in-house workshop.

The Beyonce carbon fiber drone is slick and easy to fly.

The Beyonce carbon fiber drone is slick and easy to fly.

Another ‘drone’ that Crtl.Me brought to the Garden Grove Library was their Halloween-themed configuration that outfited an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a boney skeleton figure and a dark hoodie for a ghoolish flying creature that hovered in the sky. It was named the ‘Skeledrone‘ and its eyes would glow red while it flew through the night captivating whoever it encountered.

During the quadcopter demonstration at the Garden Grove Library, the students listened attentively to the presentation with an anxious anticipation ready to get a hands-on look at one of the vehicles. As it took off into the area above their heads, the sounds of the multirotors buzzed a steady hum while it hovered nearby. The view from the attached GoPro was streamed through a wifi connection straight to the handheld controller. An LCD screen showed that the drone could see.

Some of the high-schoolers said that it looked like a video game. Others looked silently and imagined what they could do with this technology. Later, when asked about what they might achieve with something like this, one kid said that he would just like to explore his neighborhood. A fellow aspiring inventor wondered what would happen if he strapped a paintball gun to the front. Another person questioned if packages or letters could be delivered with a flying quadcopter like this.

The end of the day concluded with a lot of smiles as the students went home thinking about all the wonderful possibilities that surrounded remote controlled quadcopters and UAVs. They were inspired by the new technology thanks to the innovative leaders at the Garden Grove Library along with the assistance from the wonderful team over at Crtl.Me Robotics.

To learn more watch full class presentation by Ctrl.me at the library, also be sure to visit the main Garden Grove Library website to see what they have coming up next. They hold events all the time, including an upcoming virtual reality demonstration later in November.

For additional information about the services that Ctrl.Me provides, check out their website. You can also follow them on Twitter @Ctrl_Me, and they host meetup events from time to time as well in collaboration with the LA Robotics Club. Ctrl.Me has a great introduction video on their Youtube channel about what they do too at Youtubechannel/CtrlMeRobotics.

Matt Terndrup - I’m a virtual reality, wearables, technology art journalist and STEAM Educator who focuses on emerging trends in the maker, hacker, and inventor cultures. I like to travel around from place to place researching what is being made. TwitterLinkedin 

23b and MAG Lab members at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

23b and MAG Lab members at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

Oct 22, 2014

While at IEMMF, we stumbled across a couple of hackers in the midst of the evolving maker movement. They were sitting at the 23b tent, which is a heavy industrial hackerspace that focuses on the mechanical arts. This means there’s a lot welding, machining, fabricating, and making of circuit boards that is done at their warehouse. Not only that, but they like to open the space occasionally for nights of lock picking as well.One of the guys that runs the space is named Chris and is an active influencer in the local hacker community. He spotted us in the crowd and promptly told us the exciting tales of his recent DefCon conference trip that occurred in Las Vegas a few months before. Eventually, we got to talking with him and another hackerspace owner named Trent about the maker movement and how it is taking off like a wild fire.

Watch the video with Chris and Trent to learn more:

As we chatted, it became clear that public awareness is being stirred up with the help of events like the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire. These large meetups, along with the open access of tools at places like makerspaces and hackerspaces, are showing people that they can practically create whatever they want.

Like Chris says in the video, people are starting to see items including 3D printers and laser cutters in their everyday life. Practically every newspaper and online media now a days is continuously publishing stories about these type of high-tech machines and what they can be used for. The word is getting out, and environments like makerspaces and hackerspaces are appearing on people’s radars. This has produced the need for places like 23b and Mag Lab. The demand for these types of coworking workshops is reaching a high enough level where diversity between spaces is starting to form. Each spot now has their own unique community, its own special feel, and its own variety of tools. Still, the most encouraging aspect here is that people are finally getting to know more about the maker movement through events like this.