Matthew Schroyer's Blog (23)

Less than two weeks remaining to get this high-visibility vest for drone ops

Many of us recreational, semi-pro, and pro RPAS operators here on are fortunate enough to have had great dialogue with the public, sometimes even taking time off from our normal schedules or responsibilities to show others the wonders of robotic flight. Still, we are all to familiar with those few stories where the public has become confrontational with civilian and commercial…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on September 18, 2014 at 2:30pm — 10 Comments

FAA selects six UAS test site operators in the United States, covering nine states

In a telephone news conference today, FAA Administrator Michael Heurta explained that the test sites will evaluate "what uses evolve," and consider "appropriate certificate and regulatory regimes."

The first test site is planned to be up and running in 180 days, and test site ops are due to conclude in February 2017, which incidentally is the same time…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on December 30, 2013 at 10:12am — 8 Comments

Uncovering tomfoolery and vandalism on a drone mapping mission

Over Thanksgiving, I planned to map out a bayou in north Louisiana, and use it as a teaching moment for high school students involved in the Drones for Schools program back in central Illinois.

Due to issues with configuration and calibration, the mission didn't go according to plan, and I didn't end up with a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on December 27, 2013 at 4:47pm — 3 Comments

Building and flying an incredibly tiny, open-source quadrotor

Recently had a chance to solder together and operate one of the smallest quadrotors on the market: the Crazyflie nano. It weighs less than 19 grams, and measures 9cm from rotor to rotor. The 3.7v LiPo 170mAh gives about 7 minutes flight time. Open-source firmware, computer client coded in Python.…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on October 28, 2013 at 9:39am — 3 Comments

Speaker videos, photos now posted from small unmanned systems business expo

Couldn't make it out to San Francisco for the first-ever small unmanned systems conference just for small business? Not a problem. I recently uploaded more than 100 photos on the sUSBExpo Flickr account. We also have 14 hours of video made during the two days of the expo.

This was an amazing event, made…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on August 2, 2013 at 8:42am — 3 Comments

Man whose RC drone was shot down over Turkey protest returns to the skies

Many of you might be aware of the situation in Turkey, where protests have been going on for longer than two weeks. Some of you on DIYDrones might also be aware that a man was flying a small RC drone above these protests, that is, until his aircraft was shot down by riot police.

I originally wrote about this on sUASNews,…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on June 18, 2013 at 7:44am — 3 Comments

Fabricating custom autopilot, GPS, and battery mounting solutions with lasers

I'm very grateful to be in community that supports a laser-equipped Fab Lab. Lately I've been designing and fabricating custom components for my unmanned aircraft, especially components that are easily integrated into existing systems.

Above is a photo of one of my latest creations: a solution that houses a five or six-cell LiPo, an APM 2.5 autopilot…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on May 8, 2013 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Nemo Drone Challenge gains support from the drone community

The deadline for the Nemo Drone Prize, which aimed to prove the humanitarian and disaster-relief capabilities of drones, and especially low-cost DIY Drones, passed without submissions. But I'm hardly considering this a failure.

An update on the Nemo Drone Prize,…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on February 14, 2013 at 10:15am — 9 Comments

UPDATED X5: I'll give you $380 if you make your drone useful during winter storm Nemo.

### UPDATE @ 8:52PM, 2/9: Kévin Bouchard, robotics coordinator for Fusion Jeunesse and computer science student at Université Laval, has pledged $20 for the Nemo Drone Prize! Thank you for your help, Mr. Bouchard.

Our new total: $380. ###

### UPDATE @ 8:10PM, 2/9: Michael Shimniok of…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on February 8, 2013 at 7:30pm — 19 Comments

Custom laser-cut and etched acrylic APM 2.0 mount

When you're working for a grant to improve K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, a surprising amount of work must go into presenting your work to the public.

How will you let parents, teachers, administrators and the public know how you're helping education? What kind of hands-on examples can you bring to show the public how it's all…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on November 9, 2012 at 11:19am — 4 Comments

Happy Droneoween!

It's not the most elaborate pumpkin carving ever, but it's from the heart. Below is a time-lapse video showing the carving, imaging, and 3D modeling of this drone-themed pumpkin.…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on October 31, 2012 at 5:15pm — 3 Comments

Experiment in 3D: modeling a quadcopter with still images

This was a first test of modeling something in 3D using still images. The subject is a micro quad, 210mm from motor to motor. To make the model, 36 still images were taken from a 10MP DSLR and uploaded to Autodesk's 123D Catch application.

I first attempted to upload this to Hypr3D to do the same kind of modeling, but as you can see here…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on October 26, 2012 at 3:30pm — 3 Comments

A taste of the future? A drone reports on Nebraska's drought.

From the blog at Nebraska's Drone Journalism Lab:

"Nebraska is seeing a drought worse than the Dust Bowl drought of the Great Depression. The least amount of rain fell on the state this summer since records were kept in…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on October 22, 2012 at 8:45am — No Comments

How big of a DIY Drone could you make? What about one with a 21' wingspan?

Once, I was giving a presentation on the history of drone technology and I showed a group of high school teachers the APM 2.0, and a teacher asked me "how big of a drone could you make with that?" I didn't know how to respond at first, because really there are practical limits on the size of a drone one builds in one's basement. That's not to mention the size of recreational,…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on August 25, 2012 at 3:50pm — 1 Comment

Ride the Drone - Promo video for an NSF grant to improve STEM ed.

We've done "FPV" video before, but this time, we've got slightly better resolution, two cameras, techno music, and an interesting landing. We're building drones for high school students to learn about computers, robotics, and environmental science. It's called "Drones for Schools," and it's part of a National Science Foundation grant to improve STEM education.



Added by Matthew Schroyer on August 10, 2012 at 12:52pm — 6 Comments

Brazillian art & design magazine takes a look at drone journalism

The idea of using homebrew drones for independent journalism is picking up steam globally. I just got a digital copy of a story from Aug-Sept issue of seLecT (, the Brazilian art & design magazine, about that same topic. It features interviews with the Occucopter developer Tim…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on August 8, 2012 at 12:03pm — 3 Comments

Dangerous situation - RC catches fire while testing APM 2.0. Suggestions?


Had a pretty traumatic experience today while I was trying to get an APM 2.0 working on an RTF "trainer," when I turned off the transmitter and the ESC burst into flames. I was hoping the community might be able to point me in the direction of a solution.

I was ground-testing an electric RC (a Hobbico NexStar electric) with an APM 2.0. The APM was completely…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on July 15, 2012 at 2:00pm — 28 Comments

A code of ethics for drone journalism

This week, AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International), an industry group representing drone manufacturers, developers and operators, unveiled a "code of conduct" for operating UAS. While the code fairly broad and covers concepts of safety, professional conduct, and respect to laws, it also is not terribly…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on July 3, 2012 at 12:59pm — 8 Comments

Journalism Drone "Journo Drone 2" takes flight

After months of planning, hard work, setbacks, training, re-design, fabrication and construction, today successfully launched and flew JournoDrone 2.

The drone eventually will be equipped with an Arduino-based autopilot (APM 2.0) and cameras to collect aerial photography and aerial…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on June 3, 2012 at 12:36pm — 6 Comments

Drone Journalism in a TV News Trade Journal

Although we’re several years away in terms of regulation and technology for making drones a feasible, low-cost platform for television news, the television news industry has started to talk about using drones to enhance coverage.

Myself, along with Matt Waite of Nebraska’s Drone Journalism lab, were recently interviewed by the television news trade journal TV…


Added by Matthew Schroyer on April 13, 2012 at 9:00am — 3 Comments


Season Two of the Trust Time Trial (T3) Contest 
A list of all T3 contests is here. The current round, the Vertical Horizontal one, is here

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