Fotokite Phi Tethered Quadrotor on IndieGoGo

Looks really interesting! I like the fact that it gives accountability as to who is using it, seems relatively safe given the prop guards and the flexible props, and at least there won't be any flyaways! This was done by some guys that worked in ETH Zurich's lab.

Here's the IndieGoGo link.

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Comment by Toby Mills on August 27, 2015 at 2:20pm

I've always wondered how feasible a tethered quad would be where power was supplied from the ground. If you lost the weight of the battery, how much copper cable could you lift to get unlimited flight times.

Comment by Dax Hafer on August 27, 2015 at 6:47pm
Toby there's a company called CyPhy Works that's been doing that for awhile now. I'm pretty sure there are a few posts on DIYDrones about the company. See one of their tethered drones here.
Comment by Superwalloon on August 28, 2015 at 3:40am

Fotokite has a proven pro tethered model where the power is provided from the ground, just have a look at their website. It is based on this experience, and public request, that Fotokite has decided to go with a commercial end-user model. The good news is that this is not a new project, a first of a kind, it's proven technology already.

The second good news, is that seen there is no remote control and the machine is tethered you might find a white spot in all regulations relative to drones allowing you to take pictures and videos in places where a regular radiocontrolled machine would not be allowed.

I'd say this is a nice little machine to take along with you on vacation...

Comment by sergei lupashin on August 28, 2015 at 9:44am

Thanks for posting this! @Dax - the Fotokite is quite different from CyPhy stuff (apart from the price) in that we don't use GPS or have dependency on RF-based control. What happens is the tether is kept taut and the tension force is used as the primary means of localization. This gives you some nice freebies like instant launch (really, as in up to 50m in 30s from touching the device) and working indoor/outdoor...

We're also pretty proud of the folding design and that it's a 12oz gopro quad, which is a whole lot lighter than certain other gopro-carrying devices :-)

On the other hand we don't have a gimbal (yet..) due to the same weight, and of course it's a different type of beast in terms of operating range - so hopefully in the end it's a new type of aerial photo device that can complement all the other ingenious conventional drone designs out there!

Comment by Dax Hafer on August 28, 2015 at 10:30am

@Sergei, sounds like the Fotokite is a cool product with a specific purpose.  I wasn't comparing the CyPhy quads with the Fotokite.  One is civilian while the other is military.  I was simply responding to Toby's comment about providing power to a quad via a tether for "unlimited" flight time.  CyPhy has been doing that for a few years now I believe.  Also, the CyPhy quad that I linked to is a "pocket" copter that weighs 80g and doesn't rely on GPS or RF control.  I uses a microfilament to provide power, control, and HD video.  It has a 1000' range (max length of filament) and can either allow the user to control it or can use autonomous algorithms to map and explore its environment on its own.  But again, I'm sure it costs $40k and not intended for the same purposes that the Fotokite are intended for.  Anyway, cool design!

Comment by Dax Hafer on August 28, 2015 at 10:31am

By the way, that folding design that you came up with is AWESOME!!


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