Gyro-stabilized coaxial heli is the #1 toy this Christmas

Pretty cool. This Syma gyro-stabilized coax heli is the #1 toy at Amazon this year.

Here's an excellent HBR article about the company behind this toy. I can imagine that in a few years, they could be making autonomous helis, essentially MAVs. These guys have serious hardware skills.

Here's an excerpt:


"In the midst of the [2005] downturn Huang, Syma's vice general manager of product development (and the owner's brother-in-law) took a business trip to Japan and brought home a new model airplane. Intrigued by its
components, he took it apart, wondering if a helicopter made up of
separate, replaceable parts could be economically produced. Three months
later, he and his people had worked it out, and the new model that
resulted became an instant hit. "He saved Syma," Kevin Cheng, Syma's
sales manager told me. "And he saved the whole toy helicopter industry
in Chenhai."

If that's not quite innovation, it's still more than imitation. It's the kind of achievement celebrated by Oded Shenkar in Copycats, involving borrowing and combining inputs from multiple others and integrating them into a distinct, cost-beneficial, and continuously
improved package.

Syma isn't an aggressive new product developer; it prefers to succeed through determined focus. Its team might produce six to eight concepts over the course of 12 months, but the company gets behind just one as its "Product of Year".
Much of its effort goes into continuous improvement of a few existing
series. Take its Apache Attack series, for example. First developed in
2007, it featured three channels of radio control, and a simple body
design. The year 2008 brought details to its appearance, such as wheels
and mini-cannon, and in 2009, a more refined fuselage. This year, a gyro
was added to the main rotor to increase stability in flight.

As testament to its success, Syma, born of imitation, now has many imitators. There are over 40 other companies in Chenghai offering toy helicopters with essentially the same functions, same structure, and
same appearance — some of them even in the same packaging, save for the
logo. "They are waiting at our gate," Cheng told me. "As soon as we
launch a new product, they take it and copy." But he insisted that Syma
is not afraid of the competition. "Our quality control process is strict
and costly," he explained, "and they are not willing to pay for this."

Views: 1645

Comment by Ios on December 24, 2010 at 7:30pm
Ha! I've got one of those! I've had this Syma heli for over 6 months now, and fly it around the house almost daily! Awesome little toy, extreamy easy to fly, totally unbreakable and only cost me $50. Dosn't fly well outside (or anywhere near a draft inside),so I don't know about using it as a UAV, but it does have a fair payload capability as I did strap four 50 cent (Australian) coins to it once.
Comment by Duane Brocious on December 24, 2010 at 9:22pm
Our head of security got one of these and was flying it in our cafetria yesterday. Very stable ! I have a similar 3ch gyro heli but mine is half the size of my mCX. These 3ch gyro coaxials are a big inprovement over the older non-gyro 3ch helis. A very cheap and easy way to get into the fun of rc helis. I actually fly the micro more than my mCX in the house
Comment by Jack Crossfire on December 25, 2010 at 12:16am
Bringing home a new model airplane & producing it more economically isn't news for China, but just 4 years ago the Picco Z changed everything.  Unfortunately the wave of micro copters since 2006 is fundamentally due to the invention of LiPo batteries.  Without a better power source, it could be a while before the next big thing isn't a copy.
Comment by Steve on December 25, 2010 at 1:07am
Got one for my son!
Comment by Ahmad Usman on December 26, 2010 at 11:02am
If it is gyro stablized then can we use only ardupilot board to fly this toy autonomously
Comment by Duane Brocious on December 26, 2010 at 11:26am
Single gyro used on these. Anti-torque to maintain tail position only.

3D Robotics
Comment by Alan Sanchez on December 26, 2010 at 6:09pm
i bought my brother one for christmas and after maybe 10 flights at most the tail rotor quit working. had a couple crashes worst probably a 5ft drop which im guessing it should withstand. I removed the canopy and checked all the solder points, everything looks fine. Every once in a while the tail rotor works, but not for long. Something else i noticed is that while the helicopter is hovering, if i flick the tail rotor, sometimes it starts working. this leads me to believe that its not meeting its voltage requirement of the tiny motor and it needs a little help getting started. Any ideas of what might be wrong?
Comment by Duane Brocious on December 26, 2010 at 6:16pm
Sounds like a wire in the tail broke loose from the motor during the crash. The wires are hair thin and easily damaged.

3D Robotics
Comment by Alan Sanchez on December 26, 2010 at 6:18pm
i took it appart and it seems fine, unless the problem is inside the motor, the wires arent soldered to the outside.
Comment by Duane Brocious on December 26, 2010 at 6:23pm
Get out the VOM. See if you get continuity across the motor leads at the receiver. Its a brushed motor so you should get continuity through it.


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