Fun & Games Robotics
First Drone Games In SF Today

Autonomous Flight, with a Few Lines of Javascript

The first-ever flying drone competition for Silicon Valley’s developer community lands today (Dec 1) at 385 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA.

Organizers of the Drone Olympics

Organizers of the Drone Games, Jyri Engestrom & Chris Sanz, pictured above, write:

“In the next few years the idea of drones will dramatically change.  Here’s why.

You no longer need a PhD and security clearance to write software for flying drones. The same functions every Web programmer uses to build
apps can now make drones navigate, take pictures, find people, fly through windows, play games, and so on. When the low level control of hardware comes built-in, hobbyists can focus on writing algorithms and routines.

It wouldn’t be possible if new consumer product companies weren’t building the sub-$300 quadcopters sold at Costco. But because they are programmable, they are more than just toys. Hackers and entrepreneurs who mod them are coming up with ideas that sound like science fiction, such as disrupting the transportation system using drones. If these visions come true, Uber-riding hipsters may find themselves agonizing over the choice between a black town car and a quadcopter.

Both of us were always fascinated with robots. We have a great deal of respect for those who are involved in the academic side of robotics and thinking beyond military opportunities. However, it was’t until we got involved with a community of drone hackers called Nodecopter that we started to truly see the potential of the drone movement. It can push things further much faster than any single group or organization.

New code and methods are posted online every day. Because we now have a large repository of free tools to play with, interest is expanding all over the world.  Today we’ll showcase some of the most compelling demos at Drone Games in San Francisco.

“When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak completed the Apple I, they didn’t alert the media. They demonstrated it to their soul mates at the Homebrew
Computer Club.” So reads the entry on the HBCCat the Computer History Museum.

We can’t wait to see what will be demonstrated at Drone Games today.”

I’ll be there as a judge but I’m not sure what I’m judging.   I hope to be amazed.

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

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