On Kickstarter: iShrike Shuttle -- an iOS controlled, ping-pong ball-dropping copter

Looks like fun, and $85 isn't bad for the early backers (I'm among them). Details here.

The iStrike Shuttle was designed with the iOS in mind. We wanted to create something that was unique and unlike anything else out there. The iStrike Shuttle’s sleek vertical body gives it an almost human-like characteristic in its flight pattern and makes use of built-in balancing gyro technology which results in a more steady flight.

For greater ease of use, we have developed an app with multiple operation modes that will suite right and left handed people. In each mode, different operations are done by sliding your fingers over the controls on the screen of your iOS device. You can also use the G-Sensor swivel motions to make the iStrike Shuttle move. After a bit of practice you will be able to hover over your targets with a simple touch of a button you can drop the ball wherever you want.


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Comment by johnkowalsky on October 27, 2012 at 10:52pm

lol I feel kind of uneasy about drones that can drop objects if you know what I mean...

Comment by Stephen Kelly on October 28, 2012 at 2:23am

I also think (from something I read on here about the egg drop competition) - that it is also illegal in UK. I also think its a bit suspect dropping things from drones. I *think* that it is also illegal to drop things 'from the air' in Australia as well. 

A ping pong ball won't do much damage, but could still be dangerous, at the wrong time and place. 

Comment by Andrew Radford on October 28, 2012 at 4:19am

I'm pretty sure dropping ping pong balls is going to be OK. They already sell guns that shoot them. GUNS!!

In this case I believe we do not need to 'please, think of the children'

TFA looks pretty cool - I can see it being a big seller as a cheaper alternative to the AR Drone, at least for the brief period before it is copied and undercut.

Comment by Jan Detlefsen on October 28, 2012 at 5:49am

looks like a professional company behind this. wonder what's the use for kickstarter in this case other than a distribution channel. it certainly don't need the funding from the looks of it.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on October 28, 2012 at 7:00am

I'm a little unsure of that dual thruster design.  Seems like it would be a bit hard to steer, because you can only change the attitude in one plane.  So say you're trying to fly forward, but get blown sideways a bit.  You can't simply counter with a bit of roll, you would have to yaw first, then apply pitch in the direction you want the flight path to go.

That is going to be tricky for people.

If they had had 3 thrusters, then it would work better. 

Comment by lot on October 28, 2012 at 7:19pm

Anyway, this company are asking money for create a patent about aerial vehicles that  throw balls?

This is against the spirit of "community" behind crowfunding and open source philosophies. I hope that thet don't arrive to have enough money for create it. Like this we can have the freedom to thow things with our drones without brake any patent.

Comment by Stephen Kelly on October 28, 2012 at 7:35pm

They will need more than the $30K they are asking for (simple patents in Australia can run up to about $100K) - and just having a patent is not that much help for a small company - as you need to be able to defend the patent in court, which can cost millions. 

Also since this information is already in the public domain - and i have seen videos of this from January this year - I don't think you can get a patent once you have publically 'shared' your idea. (At least that was the advice I got from my patent lawyers - my patent lawyers said NOT to get a patent as a small company and instead put that money into additional development / marketing)  

I am pretty sure Boeing etc., has figured out how to 'throw balls' and other things (Missles) from Drones ;)  

But i don't agree that all crowd sourcing has to be open source.

Comment by Stephen Kelly on October 28, 2012 at 7:37pm

DOH - I just re-read the article and notice they said to COMPLETE the patent - so they may have put it in before they shared it publically. They have 5 months left, I am not sure if you have 12 or 24 months from when you apply for a patent to complete it. 

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on October 29, 2012 at 5:53am

I would guess that the patent relates to the control method for the flight, not the actual dropping of a ball, as that's silly.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 27, 2012 at 6:54pm

Mine finally arrived. As is so often the case with iPad/iPhone controlled aircraft, it's nearly impossible to fly. All it does is go up and down and very slightly move in one direction or another with a complicated process of orienting the "front" of the copter in one direction and then using the side props to tilt it that way. There's nothing intuitive about the controls, either in "joystick" mode (move sliders around the screen) or "g-sensor" mode (tilt the iPad; confusingly, you tilt to yaw!). 

And the ping pong ball almost never drops when commanded to. 

Basically, as far as I can tell it's a pointless toy that's no fun at all. And at $130 it's hugely overpriced. Avoid. 


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