Isn’t It Time To Bring Home A Drone?

quadsIf your mental image of this holiday season includes drones buzzing around in the air, you have to check out the drone section of our Ultimate Gift Guide. We’ve got something for all levels of experience.

gg-prettyIf you’re just a beginner, the Parrot Spider Drone is a great place to start, with its ability to bounce off of obstacles without damage. The more experienced pilot may be ready to take on the Discovery Pro by Team Blacksheep, a long distance quadcopter for aerial video.

It isn’t all multi-rotor kits in the guide. Enthusiasts who already have their own flying platforms can find upgrades, like this 3 axis gimbal controller, or even scurrying ground drones like the Dash Beta Robot.

With 20 suggestions in this years drone section, you’ll surely find a way to get those props buzzing in your life!



Announcing The Ultimate Makers’ Gift Guide 2014

giftguide_promo_9602The gift-giving season officially kicks off this week — and we’re here to help with our Ultimate Makers’ Gift Guide for 2014.

Our five experts pored over hundreds of items to hand select the bright and shining stars in five of our favorite categories. They’ve double- and triple-checked their list, and provided it for us to share with the world. Inside you’ll find a wide variety of great gifts for all skill levels.


Whether a beginner or advanced pilot, there’s something here to make your imagination take flight. Browse both ready-to-fly items and must-have upgrades.


Walking on legs, scooting on wheels, or humming along on bristles, we all agree that robots are awesome! Find what robotics you need to add to your home this year.


No matter how young or how old, everyone loves toys. We’ve found toys you make, toys to help you make other things, and toys that are simply inspiring.

3d printers3D printers

With the rapid growth of the 3D-printer market, we’ll help you figure out what printer will be gracing your home this season.

tools and techTools & Tech

Every maker needs tools. Whether they come in the form of a computer, a development board, or a soldering iron, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve put a lot of thought and hard work into this guide. Hopefully it will help make this holiday season rock for you and all those who receive your gifts!

Ambulance Drones Could Change The Future For Cardiac Arrest Patients

Within the next five years, the chance of survival from cardiac arrest could rise from an 8 percent survival rate to 80 percent due to drones. Graduate student Alec Momont of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands designed an unmanned, autonomously navigating hexacopter that can deliver a defibrillator to a scene in less than half the time it takes an ambulance to arrive.

The drone would track the patients location from their mobile phone signal and use GPS to get to the location. Because most deaths from cardiac arrest occur within the first four to six minutes due to brain death, the time it takes to arrive on scene is crucial. These ambulance drones can get to a patient within an almost five-square-mile zone within one minute. Essentially a “medical toolbox”, the drone is equipped with medical equipment that anyone can use. Via a live stream webcam and audio connection, the drone connects to an emergency operator who can see what is going on at the scene and provide the person there with instructions on how to apply the defibrillator.

For more information on the future of this project, click here.

Star Wars Pod Racing, Using Drones

If you thought just flying a drone was challenging, try racing them through a wooded area

If you thought just flying a drone was challenging, try racing them through a wooded area

Flying drones such as hexacopters or even quadcopters can be a challenge but imagine the skill needed to fly those drones through obstacles and it becomes a completely new ballgame. Crashing those drones can be devastating considering most of them run a few hundred bucks or more and are designed as put-together kits almost like professional RC vehicles.

Knowing the risks associated with flying through obstacles, some professional drone enthusiasts from the Airgonay club in the French Alps designed a three-lap track to race drones through. It’s almost reminiscent of the pod racing scene in Star Wars Episode I or better yet the scene in Episode VI with the speeders racing on the moon of Endor.

In a recently released video, the enthusiasts must complete three laps on their challenging course while dodging trees and other drones without crashing. Most of the racers use VR/AR headsets in conjunction with a camera mounted to their drones to get a first person view while flying. The course is clearly marked in terms of direction so everyone knows which direction to fly through so the chance to flying against traffic is minimal.

Most accidents were minor during the race with damage limited to a few broken rotor blades but nothing catastrophic. The club hopes to outfit their drones with sensors in order to simulate laser blasts against other competitors sometime in the near future, giving the races a more sci-fi aspect. See more on Airgonay’s Facebook page.


7 Great Outdoor Projects from Around the Web

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Make: isn’t the only place to find great outdoor how-tos. Here are a few of our favorite projects from other blogs and websites.

Get a drone to follow (and film) you The folks at Exertion Games Lab programmed a Parrot AR Drone to track and film a jogger. While your morning run might not be the most exciting video, The Drone Dudes have shown you can set up a more extreme rig. If you manage to make a drone that tracks you while surfing or biking, be sure to shoot us a note.

Put a sail on your kayak Michael Jones-Price has an excellent tutorial on his kayak-fishing blog. With this pop-up ripstop and PVC rig, he was able to reach nearly 10 mph.

DIY rock climbing Okay, so this is just an Instructables category. But it’s full of climbing projects, from tutorials on climbing basics to crafting your own climbing holds.

Make your own surf wax This stuff comes from pine trees. Seriously! If you’re waxing your board frequently, chances are you’re using quite a bit of wax.

Underwater wing tow Water skiing is on the surface, parasailing is airborne, but this home-crafted wing lets a snorkeler dive downward when towed behind a boat.

Lawn darts Jarts were made illegal for a reason, and we can’t recommend actually building these. However, there are some non-lethal alternatives, such as cornhole.

Bicycle brake light Communicating to cars what you’re doing can make your ride a lot safer. The Backtracker does so by flashing its light faster as cars approach, but this Instructables project links a taillight to your brakes so it activates only when you hit them. Another option: this turn signal bike jacket.

It is high summer, and this week we are celebrating with five days of outdoor sports-themed articles, pictures, videos, reviews and projects. We’ll be here all week, so check back often and get out there.

Our next theme week will be wearable electronics. Send us your tips or contributions before it gets here by dropping a line to

Test Your Skills at the Game of Drones Aerial Sports Competition

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Game of Drones is excited to announce the launch of our official drone sports competition at Maker Faire Bay Area, taking place on May 17 and 18 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. The Aerial Action Sports League (AASL) aims to be the premiere drone sports competition, showcasing pilot skills, engineering prowess, and technology innovation through aerial combat, flying obstacle courses, and other fun drone games.

The AASL brings together the best inventors, pilots, and artists for a fun and educational showcase of drones and UAVs of all shapes and sizes.  The AASL has divisions for tiny palm-sized toys all the way up to huge multi-rotor heavy-lifters, and include both combat and non-combat games.

There will be an outdoor flying zone as well as two HUGE indoor drone arenas, so bring your drone (UAV, multi-rotor, or experimental) to Maker Faire and test your skill in our obstacle course, battle head-to-head in aerial crash-up derby-style dogfights, or just show off your stunt flying skills in front of hundreds of enthusiastic drone fans.



Drone’s-Eye View: Go Inside an Incredible Erupting Volcano

Watch as hot lava sprays past this quadcopter as it navigates past giant clouds of sulfur billowing upwards towards its spot in the sky.

Yasur volcano, on the south Pacific island of Tanna, is one of the more active and easily accessible, making it a tourist destination for those curious about extreme nature. But no sane traveler would put themselves in the position that quadcopter pilot Shaun O’Callaghan positioned his DJI Phantom to capture these incredible exploding shots of Yasur.

His video is one of the best examples of how quadcopters and drones are being used to put imaging tools and sensors into positions that ground vehicles or manned aircraft can’t reach due to safety or size restrictions. From guarding rhinos in Africa to capturing just-overhead footage of surfers navigating challenging waves, we’re seeing more and more new uses for the aerial platforms, and imagine more footage

(h/t Brian Lam/Eric Cheng/Gizmodo)

Drone Lawyer Discusses His Landmark Victory with MAKE

Late last week, drone pilot Raphael Pirker and his lawyer Brendan Schulman won the first-ever case regarding commercial use of unmanned aircraft, with a federal judge dismissing the FAA’s handing of a $10,000 fine to Pirker for flying his unmanned five-foot fixed-wing aircraft over the University of Virginia to record video at the request of the university.

You can read Schulman’s letter detailing the case in Make V37 or online here.

Schulman visited with MAKE at SXSW to discuss the case and the landmark decision, its implications for other pilots, and what the future of drone flight and regulation may hold. Watch and let us know your feelings in the comments below.

Join FAA-Conquering Drone Lawyer Brendan Schulman in a Conversation with MAKE


Bring on the drones! This weekend MAKE has been taking to the air at SXSW, and along with our flight demonstrations, we’re excited to have a visit from drone lawyer Brendan Schulman, one of the foremost legal experts in the field of unmanned aircraft use who just won the first-ever federal case regarding civilian drone use.

MAKE@SXSW 2014If you’re a maker or quadcopter enthusiast who’s interested in the ins and outs of flying your machine, stop by our section of Austin’s Long Center on Sunday March 9th from 11 to 1145am to meet Brendan as he shares his insight and expertise. While Brendan (who has been building and flying recreational drones for 20 years) won’t be able to give specific legal advice, he does have a wealth of knowledge and interesting information specific to the use of consumer drones.

Brendan’s most notable case concerned Raphael “Trappy” Pirker from Team Blacksheep, who was being fined by the FAA for using a fixed-wing aircraft to record video footage at University of Virginia in 2011. His writeup about the case is featured in Make V37, and available for reading here.

We look forward to having Brendan stop by our booth.

For those who can’t make it but are interested in drones, you are invited to join MAKE the rest of the weekend as we and a few teams of experts fly quadcopters, fixed-wing planes, and all other sorts of autonomous aircraft at SXSW Create. We’ll have a variety of top teams and flyers, including 3D Robotics. It’s free — come on by the Long Center and say hi.


Federal Court Rules in Favor of Civilian Drone Use

In 2011, Team Blacksheep’s lead pilot Raphael Parker flew his drone over the campus of the University of Virginia. Today he faces the first-ever legal battle with the FAA regarding civilian drone flights because of it.

Team Blacksheep’s lead pilot Raphael Pirker flew his drone over the campus of the University of Virginia and incurred the first-ever FAA fine for civilian drone flight. Today, a federal court ruled in his favor.

In 2011, Raphael Pirker and UAV enthusiasts Team Blacksheep were flying fixed-wing aircraft at a demonstration at University of Virginia, something they’d done numerous times before across the country and beyond, and never with any scrutiny or regulatory pressure. The only difference with that day’s event was that some of the footage his team shot there caught the eye of the FAA, who disapproved and filed a $10,000 fine against Pirker for it in 2013, the first ever of its kind.

The case has helped bring drones and civilian use autonomous flight into mainstream discussion, and has been processing for months. That is, until last night, when the case against Pirker, represented by attorney Brendan Schulman, was decided in their favor by a federal court, effectively making the use of consumer drones legal. Schulman detailed the nature of the case for MAKE in V.37; you can read his article here.

We’re planning to meet with Schulman this weekend at SXSW to get more details of the case, his thoughts, and what’s next. Until then, fly free, pilots. And, of course, fly safe too.