Building and flying modern airplanes is a popular hobby that has existed in one aspect or another for more than 50 years, but with the advent of quadcopters, it’s really come into its own. Now more than ever there are those who spend their time designing, modifying, and flying their quadcopters. But while some people are just satisfied with flying them, others have gotten more inventive with their flying machines, and have put cameras, or even camcorders on them, letting them take a high altitude picture or video.
The hobby group Airgonay, however, has gotten a little more inventive with their pastime.
With the help of high bandwidth radio signals and some Go Pro’s, they’ve made their own quadcopter drones. In the community this is generally known as FPV (First Person View) quadcopters, and they allow you to fly your quadcopter like your very own genuine aircraft. In short, it’s probably the closest that most of us are going to get to flying a real aircraft. Not only is the idea of being able to fly your own quadcopter like a fighter pilot, but they’ve taken the idea one step farther.
They’ve started racing them.
Imagine zipping through a forest like that one with an Oculus Rift on, and the quadcopter’s GoPro on a swivel mount. Even if you were doing it by yourself, it would be hair raising. Doing it with a bunch of friends, however, would be mind blowing. There’s even rumor that the folks at Airgonay are developing a way for you to shoot digital lasers at your opponents, disabling or destroying their craft.
It would be like Mario Kart in real life. With lasers.
However, the possibilities don’t stop there. There’s no reason this technology can’t be applied to literally anything else. Like racing cars, for example. If you take out the whole “driver” part, you can cut down on over 150 lbs, which can either be devoted to a larger engine, or even just shaved off entirely. It could even be applied to larger, more powerful aircraft, capable of higher speeds and more capable acrobatics.
More practical applications include quadcopters or other kinds of robots used to do more dangerous things, like saving people from burning houses, investigating structurally unsound buildings, or even diffusing bombs. Even scientists could make use of technology like this, exploring dangerous environments, like lava flows, deep sea trenches, or even outer space.
The best thing about this technology is that it’s available now. It might require a little more development to get it to the point where it can be used in any of these applications, but not too much. In fact, most of the difficulty isn’t with streaming real time video to an Oculus Rift, or similar device, but developing the robots that are going to carry it. A remote controlled car wouldn’t be too hard, even if it was built like a Formula 1 car, but something that can fly or walk into a burning building is another matter entirely. Even so, this kind of tech is being developed in other fields, so it’s only a matter of time before some of these ideas become reality.