My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Hexo+ Semi-Autonomous Drone Controlled by Apple iOS and Android – Despite no AirLeash Six Propellers better than Four as it won’t run away

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hexo+ Semi-Autonomous Drone Controlled by Apple iOS and Android – Despite no AirLeash Six Propellers better than Four as it won’t run away

Like the AirDog Drone that follows you Everywhere You Go, Zedenya Style as described in my blog article entitled “AirDog Personal Drone – Action Selfie-Drone with an attachment for a GoPro Camera”? If you do, you’ll soon realize as I have that the AirDog isn’t alone in the personal Action-Camera category.

Introducing the Hexo+, another Kickstarter project featuring a personal drone as described in “HEXO+ AUTONOMOUS DRONE AIMS TO SIMPLIFY SHOOTING OF ACTION SCENES”, published June 16, 2014 By Trevor Mogg, DigitalTrends that can be programmed to fill that spot for a cameramen to capture your Extreme Sports thrills and spills. The Hexo+ is an autonomous Drone Camera, which like the AirDog, is also based on using a GoPro Camera attached to a Gyroscopic gimbals to film you in action.

This kickstarter, which launched on Tuesday June 15th 2014, the same time as the AirDog as described in the article “Meet the HEXO+ and AirDog: autonomous drones that extreme athletes will love”, published JUN. 16, 2014 - 4:18 PM PDT by Signe Brewster, Gigaom is also super hot thanks to the donations of hot-headed Extreme Sports enthusiasts.

Sporting some 1,661, the Hexo+ Kickstarter blew through its kickstarter goal of US$$50,000 within the first day to reach US$895,908 by Wednesday June 25th 2014, a week and two days later. The project will be fully funded by Tuesday July 15th 2014 4:01 PM EST, which means as of today Saturday July 5th 2014, they have ten more days to go.

Expect the final product to retail for US$499 by May 2015, long after Christmas, but at least in time for Easter Break, a great time to hit some waves on the seas! So how does this drone differ immensely from the AirDog? For one, it's fully autonomous as once you set it; it does its thing, sans the bulky AirLeash! It’s also cheaper, as the AirDog looks to retail at US$1,195 by November 2014!

Hexo+ vs AirDog – Six Propellers if better than Four and it Apple iPhone Friendly

The difference lies in the design. First, the AirDog is a foldable portable Quadcopter (four rotors) as opposed to the Hexo+, which is an unfoldable Hexacopter (six Rotors). This results in possibly more stable filming than the AirDog, which would explain the heftier cost of US$499.

With dimensions of 62 cm x 52 cm x 12 cm (24" x 20" x 5") and a total weight of 980 g (2.2 lbs), it’s clearly a little heavier and bulkier to carry, albeit it can be pulled apart and easily stowed in the Trunk of your vehicle en route to the Stunt Area.

Whereas the AirDog relies on you wearing the bulky AirLeash to follow you, so that your personal paparazzi follows you as you ski down slopes and jump off cliffs, the Hexo+ relies on using what I always suspected was possible; your own smartphone as explained in “A Drone Designed To Follow And Film You Is Smashing Its Kickstarter Goal”, published JUN. 16, 2014, 12:24 PM by DYLAN LOVE, BusinessInsider.

The Hexo+ is designed with six tilt propellers set at 30° angles. Capable of speeds of between 45mph to 70 km/h, it's a lot faster than the AirDog. It's flight time, however, leave much to be desired at a measly 15 minutes with a 3S Battery. You just have the Hexo+ App installed and give the instructions to your drone via their proprietary MAVLINK protocol designed by Swiss University ETH Zurich.

For those of you with bad memories, Swiss University ETH Zurich were also involved in the SOLAR-JET Project to make Kerosene via the SynGas using the Fischer–Tropsch Process  as explained in my blog article entitled “SOLAR-JET Project create Kerosene from Syngas - How Fresnel Lens in SynGas for Fischer–Tropsch Process means Fossil Fuel a Renewable Resource by 2017”.

The MAVLINK Protocol may be communicating over either Bluetooth 4.0 on an Android smartphone or Apple iPhone’s little used Multi-peer Connectivity Network about which I’d spoken in the design of the peer-to-peer FireChat App by Open Garden as described in my blog article entitled “Open Garden's FireChat is a Viral Hit - Mesh Networking is Back as Apple’s Multi-peer Connectivity Network reintroduces Napster-esque P2P Mesh Networks for Millennials”. This allows for smooth communication of the complex instruction set to the Hexo+ onboard computer, allowing it to fly autonomously.

This includes what angle, distance to hover from you as well as flying speed. Here’s where the problem may come in though. Unlike the AirDog, it uses a smartphone, which can be either the Apple iPhone or any smartphone running Google Android.

Also, it does most of the thinking itself, being able to automatically take off and assume the programmed position, awaiting your next move. Still, if you like a friend to tag along and film you, it has a RC Mode and an App to allow control via a smartphone, no doubt a RC Shell that fits over the smartphone.

Hexo+ Semi-Autonomous Drone – Despite no AirLeash, it won’t run away

Once Battery power is low, it will automatically land in a pre-assigned area, easing fears that it's become self-aware and run off given the opportunity. Maintaining a maximum tracking distance of 50 m (150’) away, it follows your every move for the duration of the 15 minutes as stated in “The Hexo+ Drone can autonomously follow you to your sports, action film stardom”, published June 17, 6:35 AM By Sumit Passary, Tech Times.

Locking on and filming your daredevil stunts from the angle specified and keeping track of your location via its built in GPS, this is the ultimate Hollywood quality self-made movie of your exploits!

Its high performance 2D brushless Gimbal, makes attaching the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition or Hero3 White Edition to the GoPro mount a snap, albeit you may wanna opt to attach your own GoPro Camera if you have one handy.

Want more extreme than that? How about being able to watch yourself live as you do your dastardly stunts, effectively being Cameraman and Film Director of your own Stunts? Just make sure you survive, otherwise that Hexo+ may be your last obituary to the world before your untimely demise.

But fret not. In case you do indeed die, it'll probably be programmed to dial 911, as I'm very doubtful anyone in their right mind in Jamaica would desire to have such a contraption following them about and filming their action stunts.

Instead of having to follow the smartphone, it uses its onboard camera sensors separate and apart from the GoPro Camera that along for the ride to judge where your head, torso and legs are. Then it positions itself at the distance, angle and speed set by you and automatically films you from that point of view at all times. In this sense, it can almost be said to be thinking for itself.

So will it be the US$1,195 AirDog or the US$499 Hexo+? You can still put in a pledge, as lots of space is left and there’s 10 day left to the Hexo+ Kickstarter.

Here’s the link:

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