3D Robotics

3689383115?profile=originalPretty cool. This Syma gyro-stabilized coax heliir?t=thelongtail-20&l=as2&o=1&a=8499000606 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."

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  • Mine came today.  I couldn't make that for 35 $, neat-o!  Flys really good, blow at it hard and it about falls over.  Recommended as insurance against children flying your real toys.
  • Just got one of these myself, it survived a couple hard crashes the first couple minutes of flying (sure drops like a rock if you back off the throttle too fast) but after that I had no trouble flying it at all.  Considering I've never even flown an airplane outside of a simulator much less a helicopter, this thing is nice.


    I like how it just gradually looses lift through the battery cycle until it pretty much just sinks to the ground.

  • 3D Robotics
    Update: mine arrived. AMAZING stability.  It actually doesn't do anything but fly stably--you can point the nose in a direction and gently nudge it that way, but there is no banking whatsoever. But I've never seen a flying machine so easy to fly. It's basically a car in the air--just steer it in the direction you want to go.
  • 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.
  • 3D Robotics
    i took it appart and it seems fine, unless the problem is inside the motor, the wires arent soldered to the outside.
  • 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
    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?
  • Single gyro used on these. Anti-torque to maintain tail position only.
  • If it is gyro stablized then can we use only ardupilot board to fly this toy autonomously
  • Got one for my son!
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