QFO Labs wants to send palm-sized copters out to play

Nov 07, 2012 by Nancy Owano weblog

(Phys.org)—A Minnesota-based trio running a company called QFO Labs, with the focus on "high tech gaming concepts," will be the first to assure that their game idea can in no way be confused with the mall variety of remote-controlled toy helicopters. For the past five years they have been working on a game system called the NanoQ Copter with Mimix Tilt-to-Fly Controller. For those gaming enthusiasts who like the idea of answering a "rotor fight" challenge, this is what the product title suggests: a palm, sized quad-rotor helicopter, flown wirelessly, with the use of a Mimix controller, which works with a simple one-handed wrist tilt.

The NanoQ weighs 35 grams, and it can remain flying for up to ten minutes on an integrated rechargeable battery. The NanoQ a single battery lasts between eight to ten minutes and can be easily swapped with a fresh one to keep on going. Batteries take roughly 30 minutes to charge. The included charger can charge two batteries simultaneously.

An electronic stabilization system keeps the craft upright automatically; it self-stabilizes with a three-axis and . Commenting on the planning that went into the NanoQ, its creators said, "We took the traditional quad-rotor design and flipped it upside-down. This also means the props don't run into the ceiling and the motors don't hit the floor." Using high-speed stabilization, the craft is able to automatically adjust 400 times per second, reacting quickly to a player's commands. It is difficult not to refer to the user as "player," as the QFO Labs team, Jim Fairman, Brad Pedersen and John Condon, had multiplayer gaming in mind.

The copters can talk to each other via infrared transmitters and receivers. Team colors are automatically displayed with changing LED colors on both the craft and the controllers. The QFO Labs mission has been to take the gaming experience off a "flat and into the physical world."

Welcome to the Sunday afternoon air battle. Each NanoQ is equipped with an IR photon cannon and an IR sensor pod. By pulling the trigger on the Mimix controller, a user can unleash photon "lasers" to try to hit the sensor pad on the opponent's NanoQ enough times to force it down.

The Mimix controller was ergonomically designed for the hand, based on US Air Force Human Factors data for aircraft controls. The control movement is a wrist tilt, which can easily make the user "feel" where to fly the quad.

The Mimix controller has its own built in. It is charged through the USB port. The battery takes about 30 minutes to charge and lasts between three to four hours.

The NanoQ system presently is up on Kickstarter, with a $99 offer that brings the payer the quadrotor, Mimix Tilt-to-Fly controller, charger, and two batteries. Shipping is planned for March 2013.

For serious tinkerers, the system's open communications protocol means being able to connect a computer up to the Mimix through the USB port to communicate wirelessly with the NanoQ to do things such as tweak control parameters, send control commands from a laptop, send customized signals out of the IR transmitter, or even connect an Arduino or camera to the auxiliary serial port on the NanoQ.

The team has presented this five-year effort as a Kickstarter, as they are ready and willing to take the wraps off and start production in earnest. With only days left until their November 13 deadline, they have a goal of raising $230,000, for actions they need to complete in order to take the products to market— production tooling, quantity component orders and government certifications are needed, they said, to get to full production levels. At the time of this writing, they raised $66,082.

Explore further: FINsix small-size laptop adapter uses special power platform

More information: qfolabs.com/press

via IEEE

Related Stories

Pico projector used in eye based video gaming system

May 03, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Students at the University of Texas in Austen are playing video games. Honestly, that is really not news. Students all over the country are playing video games, usually when they should be studying. In this ...

Nintendo gives 2nd glimpse of Wii U game machine

Jan 10, 2012

Nintendo Co.'s upcoming Wii U game console will come with a controller that has a big, touch-enabled screen. At first glance, that seems like an obstacle to the kind of casual multiplayer gaming that made ...

Gadget Adviser: 4 gaming add-ons that really do add on

Mar 20, 2009

You want to get more out of the stuff you already have, these days. For video gamers, accessories are the quickest way to make that console feel out-of-the-box new. A controller that fits the hands better will make you play ...

Review: Shark 360 mouse offers added precision

Jan 04, 2012

Console gaming occasionally gets a boost from add-ons that can make the standard controller more efficient to hold and operate. A new wireless mouse looks to replace the standard Xbox 360 controller altogether ...

Harness power of the sun with solar gadgets

Aug 26, 2009

In the past, if you wanted a solar-powered gadget, you typically had to shell out a lot of cash for something made by a company you'd never heard of. But that's starting to change, as major brands such as ...

Recommended for you

Study: Samsung phone durable, but iPhone has edge

Apr 14, 2014

Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year's model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new study finds.

Invention loves collaboration at Milan show

Apr 14, 2014

Collaboration drove invention during Milan's annual International Furniture Show and collateral design week events, yielding the promise of homes without mobile phone chargers, and with more ergonomic seating, ...

Amazon 'to release smartphone later this year'

Apr 12, 2014

Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

ESO image: A study in scarlet

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

First direct observations of excitons in motion achieved

A quasiparticle called an exciton—responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits—has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within ...

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...