Drone Camp 2016

Group photo of campers with their drones

The campers & their drones

After a long year of learning about drones we traveled to Lake Balaton for a weekend to finally build them! During the weekend we assembled two quadcopters and modified an existing one to enable mobile control.

The controls

Although I am not good at building robots I especially like programming them.  It was my job to create an app with which we can control the drones with a smartphone or a smartwatch. I built a bridge between a Syma drone and my phone based on this post.

Building the bridge wasn’t the hard part but designing intuitive controls for it was. On the mobile app I ended up copying most of the buttons from the traditional controller, on the watch however I needed a new approach.

As a start I reused the app I wrote for the Sphero. It contains 2D controls by tilting the watch. Now I needed a way to take off and manage altitude.

I had two choice: Using buttons and sliders or recognizing custom hand gestures based on the gyroscope data. Mainly because of time constraints I went with the first approach.

The assembly

I don’t want to write much about this part because the pictures will tell you all.

Putting the frame together.

The frame

Assembling the drone.


Playing bowling in breaks


Putting red and blue LEDs on the top of the drone.

Optic tuning (blue and red LEDs)

Custom electronics for mobile control

Syma custom electronics

Soldering the motors


Testing the motors

Testing the motors

The drone is ready to fly.

Ready to fly

And here is the summary of the camp (in Hungarian):