Congrats to Spiri for making their Kickstarter goal!

Spiri, "a versatile, airborne Linux device with sensors, cameras, wifi, cloud support, development tools and more", made its $125,000 Kickstarter goal with a day to spare. Congrats to the team!

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Comment by Rob Bartlett on September 11, 2013 at 9:51am

Awwwww.  What a cute little bugger. I want one.

Comment by Earl on September 11, 2013 at 3:02pm

Looks like a winner...

Earl

Comment by Jack Crossfire on September 11, 2013 at 4:42pm

So it takes 6 people to make a quad a social creature that brings people together.

Comment by Oliver on September 11, 2013 at 5:46pm

Where is there anything innovative and useful in the real world here aside from the rhetoric ("social" "community" blah blah)? How does that rhetoric jive with some of the source code being closed?

I see inefficient props, motors designed for planes, crude motor mounts, unstreamlined plain round arms, a "HD"camera with an extremely narrow field of view between that wind-catching shrouding and no gimbal stabilization. Sonar and downward facing nav camera along with prop shielding have of course been around since Parrot 1.0. So is the Linux OS that big a deal? Is it the forward (forward only, apparently) obstacle avoidance? The 100 gram (!!) payload? The sketchy inductive charging?

A big sell is that the user won't have to worry about the flying part. So why all the stress on crashworthiness and cheap replacement parts? Either it's a reliable flight platform or it's not.

The devs talk about agriculture, construction and mine-clearing applications but these things are not themselves any part of the project, and they are things that others in the multirotor world have been addressing for quite a while.

There's lots of room for improvement in the hardware end of the art. But this looks like just another hurry-up jump-on-the-bandwagon deal from here. The more the merrier, I suppose, but I won't be trading my APM-controlled hex in for one anytime soon.

 

Comment by Gary McCray on September 11, 2013 at 7:26pm

A brave set of compromises perhaps. I think propguards are a great idea and hrd to implement in practice.

This one uses small inefficient 3 blade props and an interesting Clorox bottle bottom prop guard, so I'm not quite sure this is it.

The charging perch is cute if they can actually consistently get it to auto land on it.

And I kind of agree with Oliver that the social community rhetoric smacks more of marketing hyperbola than function, especially since they are clearly not completely Open source.

Still it may be small enough and safe enough to use indoors and if they can actually squeeze some function out of the hyperbola it could turn into a really worthwhile little copter .

Maybe even give the Parrot a run for its money - long way to go though.

Comment by Patrick Edwards-Daugherty on September 12, 2013 at 12:22pm
This is Patrick from Pleiades, the company behind Spiri.
 
Thanks for the encouragement, Chris! We've been watching Iris with a lot of interest, and are trying our best to make our quadrotor work with the software people here at DIY Drones are writing.
 
I appreciate the feedback in the comments and I'm interested in suggestions for improvements. We are testing many different rotors and motors—it isn't wrong of people to notice that Spiri is a work in progress. I know, too, we have our work cut out for us.
 
About the shrouds, for the same reason Parrot protects their rotors (and their users from their rotors), we're doing that, but with a stronger material. In a perfect world, Spiri would never crash—that's what we're aiming for in the programming. But just in case, we wanted some strength and safety. I know some will disagree, and argue that the cost in weight and profile is too high. But in autonomous use cases, we expect the perch will help make up for reduced air time per flight. I don't think there's a "right" or "wrong" answer on this. Just different approaches. As one commenter kindly pointed out, a brave set of compromises.
 
We know that what matters most to members of DIY Drones is what Spiri can actually do. You will get to see more of that as we continue development. Along the way, I know your suggestions and critique are going to help us a lot.
Comment by V N on September 14, 2013 at 2:48pm

The amazing thing is that the total amount of funding was almost doubled during last 7 days before the deadline... 

Comment by Rob Lindman on July 4, 2014 at 6:54pm

I know the people behind this, they have proven to me to be highly unethical, and I have considerable cause to believe that their motivations are far from pristine. While at the present the device is under par enough that it wouldn't represent a harmful situation, in the event it evolves, I would strongly recommend against allowing automated, internet connected devices, reporting back to foreign sources, from being imported into the United States of America  -- without serious scrutiny, registration, and licenses.

I agree with the other posters in that there are many different flaws in the design in this product, in the videos it looks quite wonky, and also that the marketing is quite comical. At one point there is mention of the UAV going into 'the caldera of an active volcano'. I doubt the materials they are using would function in any sort of extreme conditions, and it is laughable to add that kind of hype as an appendage.

To aim it at the general and unsuspecting consumer under a shiny candy coated package is quite nebulous. Given my understanding of, and relationship to, the individuals involved, I do not wish to see these devices, under their control, in American airspace, ever.

I believe we have a lot of work to do in ensuring that products of this nature are thoroughly evaluated for many different concerns, public safety being number one, and to establish proper legal safeguards -- as well as manufacturing accountability. If it is going to fly on it's own, under the direction of internal programming, or if it has the potential to be internet-capable and reaches over international borders to obtain guidance and tracking, it represents the potential of a threat, albeit on a small scale. In large numbers, small problems can become very big ones.

I, too, am very enthusiastic about the future of robotics, and I believe that we will have this future, and that it will take some major players who are responsible, intelligent, and committed to developing devices with appropriate failsafes. 

It will take many millions of dollars to arrive at a viable product that does not cause harm and I do not believe that this group will deliver on that dream.

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