Snap on, Plug in and Take off! In 15 minutes (less or more, depending on your LEGO construction skills), you are flying a rebuildable and crash-friendly drone. No tools or special skills are required; if you know how to snap LEGO bricks together, you can build a Flybrix drone. Last year, the company sold more than 8,000 drone kits online and nearly 500 units to school systems around the world. Flybrix is designed for ages 14+. Younger pilots will need hands-on adult help to be successful with this Flybrix Kit.
Drones are in the news, it seems, with the US Army going all panicky about Chinese DJI drones, citing potential operational risks and cyber vulnerabilities. What next? Chinese electronics are in many of our most used and beloved products, including the Macbook Pro I am typing this article on.
The Flybrix kit comes with everything you need: LEGO bricks to build a drone, an Arduino pre-programmed circuit board, a lithium polymer battery, motors, propellers, design plans and instructions to build your own drones. You can build quad, hex, plus octo airframe designs. You can control the drone with your smart phone using the Flybrix bluetooth app (Android and iOS) or purchase an optional joystick radio controller.
Flybrix is intuitive for beginner right out of the box. Once, you have graduated from the basic kits, you can use your own bricks and design, then access sensor data and tune the motors using an optional Chrome Extension or the advanced features of the mobile app. For the programming experts among you, you can also write code for the open-source Flybrix brain using the Arduino programming environment.
Flybrix is marketed as an educational technology toy that “stretches your brain as you learn about electronics, physics, aerodynamics and robotics.” But it’s so much more than a toy: the Flybrix brain is a 96Mhz ARM® Cortex®-M4 processor that’s Arduino compatible; the custom PCB includes a barometer, a magnetometer, several indicator LEDs, ADC converters, SD card slot and bluetooth; you can add Wi-Fi and GPS modules; the code is open-source, so it’s infinitely tweakable. Add a GPS module, experiment with LQR control theory and alternative state estimation, or wire up some extra LEDs and do some flight-path light painting. Now, if they would only add a camera….