Space One FPV launches Orbit 250 racer

A new Mini Drone Quadcopter Racer Called Orbit 250 has been launched by California-based Space One FPV, which has become popular with consumers. Their new racing drone has a bunch of powerful features and is now available on

Orbit One 250 features a power board with integrated Blue and White LEDs. Different types of motors for agility and speed can be mounted to the device, as it has universal mounting holes.

This revolutionary product deals successfully with most of the problems that quadcopters have with FPV video recording and FPV Speed flying. The design of Orbit One 250 provides for vibration reduction to increase the video quality. A complete support for Mobius and other kinds of HD video cameras that are additionally secured by mounting brackets is included.

The drone is made of full 3K carbon fiber that is highly strong and resilient, being the first choice of materials, used in the Aerospace industry. The users can easily accommodate 5″ props on its lightweight airframe.

Among the Orbit One 250’s additional features is a completely integrated FPV electronics and ESCs power distribution board, incorporated LEDs for LOS orientation. It also has landing gear integrated in the frame to make it user-friendly, and more.

The product is offered at a reduced price now, giving customers a chance to save $30.00 on their purchase. The current price of Orbit One 250 is $139.99. The box includes a drone quadcopter frame kit, power distribution board, and landing gear and standoff hardware set. It also includes CC3D black nylon standoff set, neck strap for radio control, FPV sticker and velcro straps, neoprene tape for anti vibration, Xt60 Lipo pigtail. Full instructions are included.

To learn more about this product and to take advantage of the discount available, please visit

About Space One FPV

Space One FPV is a California based drone manufacturing company that offers a variety of drones for commercial or personal applications.

Build and Program Your Very Own Quadcopter!

Going to the local hobby shop as a kid was one of my favorite things to do. I’d spend hours wandering the aisles looking for a car, plane, or boat kit to build – and when I got older I started building remote control cars that were totally epic.

I’ve long been dreaming of a world where people can buy drone kits and build their own aerial vehicles. Skyworks Aerial Systems (Skyworks) recently launched a campaign that wants to bring DIY programmable drone kits into the hands of everyday people: it’s not quite at the hobby shop level yet, but this is a major stepping stone.
Qua.R.K., the quadcopter research kit, is the most versatile “aerial robotics” platform for the development of different enterprise applications.

Qua.R.K., the quadcopter research kit, is the most versatile “aerial robotics” platform for the development of different enterprise applications.

The drone kit, or QuaRK-e as they’re calling it, is a low-cost and easy to assemble quadcopter platform. It’s directly inspired by the ideal that anyone can learn how to program hardware if only given the proper tools.

“We want to take the complexity of engineering robotics out of people’s hands, but at the same time, give them the hands-on experience of putting something together,” says Skyworks Aerial Systems CEO and founder Greg Friesmuth.

Skyworks is effectively putting to rest the commonplace argument that the barrier to entry for something like this is too high, one that requires extensive knowledge in hardware and coding. However, the team tells us that they expect the DIY kits to thrust the future of aerial robotics into the hands of independent developers, who will in turn innovate in their own right.

Researchers are currently unlocking an array of innovative UAV applications for commercial uses. The challenge is bridging cutting-edge development onto a certified platform. Qua.R.K.s unique POD technology allows for a fast and versatile development process without compromising flight-worthiness.

“Many developers are already familiar with coding web applications. Why not take it a step further and learn how to program a flying robot?” says Jinger Zeng, COO of Skyworks.

Further, according to Zeng, Skyworks’ development environment “Forge” gives users the option to either script their own code or simple drag and drop blocks of code. The drone kit is also compatible with various sensors kits on the market so users can create their own, customer applications with ease.


Up to this point Skyworks has maintained a specialization across education, research, and commercial applications: this new launch only seeks to strengthen that resolve. The DIY drone kit will, as Skyworks says, help jump start their “Become a #Dronesmith Initiative”.

June 1, 2015 will mark the first day of the Kickstarter campaign in which the team will give people the ability to pre-order a kit. Additionally, they’ll create a donation pool to support school robotics programs both locally in Las Vegas and across the nation.

DJI announces new Matrix 100 quadcopter

DJI has announced the Matrix 100 — a new high-end quadcopter platform that appears to be designed specifically for niche markets such as aerial surveillance, surface mapping, law enforcement, etc.

Not much is known about this new quadcopter but based on the information that was released recently by DJI, the Matrix 100 features plenty of modular expansion options and multiple sensor inputs.

The Matrix 100 is now available for pre-order from DJI retailers such as Multicopter Warehouse for $2999. It is expected to ship on June 15th. Below is a list of features for the Matrix 100.

Expansion Bays

Additional expansion bays allow you to add components, customize the payload, and fly with any devices you want. Put cameras, sensors, computing boards, communication tools, and more into the sky, and gather data while completing complex jobs from a birds‐eye view.

Universal Power and Communication Ports

Plug in and fly with almost any device, and transmit data via the Matrix 100’s dual CAN and UART ports. There are two of each port on your platform, enabling you to mount and build a system that matches your needs.

Dual Battery Compartments

Add an additional battery compartment to achieve up to 40 minutes* of flight time. This gives greater power to both your platform and any additional devices or accessories that you wish to fly with. *Flight times vary based on payload and flight conditions, and the maximum 40 minute flight time tested when hovering with dual TB48D batteries and no additional payload.

Customizable Mounting and Balancing

Achieve perfect balance and an ideal flight experience by sliding the battery and other compartments around the body of your Matrix 100. Put your components exactly where you want them, and get the most out of your system.

Adjustable Arm Angle for Greater Torque

Flexible to match your flight needs, adjusting the arm angle of each of the 4 arms is quick and easy. Achieve increased yaw torque and greater response by tilting the arms to a 3 degree angle.

50% Less Vibrations, Rigid, Strong System

To reduce vibrations, increase stiffness, and bring unmatched reliability, your Matrix 100 is made of strong, lightweight carbon fiber. Each of the arms contains DJI’s new soft vibration absorbing material that virtually eliminates feedback from the powerful motors, keeping your critical components stable and allowing unprecedented accuracy.

Responsive, Quick Release Landing Pads

Innovative landing pads or “feet” are installed at the base of each arm to protect your Matrix 100 when landing. These pads greatly reduce impact, protecting your system and eliminating the chance of your platform unintentionally lifting off of the ground. Also easy and quick to remove for replacement or upgrades.

Dedicated Remote Controller

Take control of your platform with the customizable, long‐range remote controller included with the Matrix 100. With an operating distance of up to 1.2 miles* (2km), a rechargeable battery, fully adjustable controls, and outputs to connect to your mobile device, this is the perfect tool to command your system in the air. *Maximum range tested in open areas free of interference and may vary depending on local regulations.

Full Mobile App Support

Fly with the feature‐rich DJI Pilot app or create your own app with the DJI SDK. See a live view, control your devices, access a real‐time map, and more by simply plugging in your tablet or smartphone.

Enhanced GPS

Enhanced GPS with a foldable mount helps you to track your Matrix 100’s position in real time, while enabling faster satellite acquisition, more accurate position holding and flight planning.

Upgraded Flight Controller and Integrated Lightbridge

DJI’s new N1 flight controller keeps your Matrix 100 stable and responsive to your commands throughout every flight. Transmitting data to you and bringing a live HD view (when using DJI’s X5 Camera and gimbal), the included DJI Lightbridge increases your flight range to 1.2 miles* (2km). *Maximum range tested in open areas free of interference and may vary depending on local regulations.

Purpose‐Built Propulsion System

An upgraded version of the respected DJI E800 electric propulsion system powers your Matrix 100 and keeps it in flight. Four powerful, brushless motors and four lightning fast Electronic Speed Controllers are integrated into the platform, giving you complete control during flight. With increased strength and payload capacity, you have the flexibility to create the system you need.

Compatible Parts for Further Functionality

The Matrix 100 is compatible with a wide range of DJI accessories including:

  • Guidance: DJI’s revolutionary sensor kit that helps your platform see its environment and recognize when obstacles or other objects are nearby.
  • X3 Camera and Gimbal: Shoot stabilized 4K video and capture 12 megapixel images from the sky with DJI’s integrated camera and 3-axis gimbal system.
  • Extra Battery: Extend your flight time by flying with an additional DJI Intelligent Flight Battery.
  • Expansion Bays: Use more expansion bays to put all of your desired devices onto your Matrix 100 and create a truly unique, customized platform.

The B-Unstoppable Is a Quadcopter That Also Doubles as a Tank

Quadcopters are great fun but what if you combined one with a tank? Enter the B-Unstoppable Quadcopter-Tank that has both amazing terrain and flight capabilities.

The B-unstoppable drone on a single charge can fly for 9 or provide up to 12-18 min of driving with a combined endurance of 12-15 min.

Watch the video below to learn more to learn more about the drone that is equipped with powerful coreless DC motors, 900 mAh Li-po battery and comes with 2.4 GHz radio transmitter.

Front and back lights, that allows for night flying as well as indicating low battery level. It is a cool toy for everyone, that can be used indoor as well as outdoor. It is extremely easy to control; flicking a mode button will convert tank to quadcopter. Steering is also very simple, in the air B-unstoppable is controlled as any other quadcopter. On the ground each track is controlled by separate channel so you get the full experience of driving a tank.

GoPro to Make a Drone and Virtual Reality Filming Kit

GoPro’s chief executive has confirmed it will make its own quadcopter drones. Nick Woodman described the remote controlled aircraft as the “ultimate” accessory for his firm’s action cameras.

He made the announcement at the Code Conference in California, where he also unveiled new kit to that helps capture video footage for virtual reality helmets.

One industry watcher said GoPro’s move into drones was “very significant”.

“It’s the fact that the company has such a strong brand,” explained John Stapley from Amateur Photographer magazine.

“It’s similar to what you can already see with action cameras. There are a lot of others out there but most people don’t know they exist or don’t have any interest in them because GoPro has become such a dominant name that it is ‘the action brand’ as far as they are concerned.”


The risk for the firm, he added, was that other drone manufacturers would opt to partner with other camera makers to avoid supporting a competitor.

The world’s bestselling commercial drone maker – China’s DJI – has already decided to limit initial sales of its Phantom 3 flagship to a design that features its own proprietary video camera.

The previous generation had been launched instead with an optional mount for GoPro cams.

Sales ascend

Mr Woodman said he planned to release the GoPro drone within the first half of 2016, and that it would be targeted at consumers.

“Quadcopters have a special place for us at GoPro because I was a huge radio-controlled plane enthusiast as a kid and I could never really get anyone involved in it with me because it was either too geeky or it took a lot of time to learn how to fly these things – you’d crash them all the time,” he said.

“So, I was really surprised to see how quickly the general consumer was adopting quadcopters.

“Quads plus GoPro has been one of the most democratising combinations in terms of enabling people to capture professional quality content and see themselves in their environment in a way that they’d never seen before. It looks like you’re in your own movie.”

Drones are expected to be one of the fastest growing electronics sectors over the coming years.

According to the US’s Consumer Electronics Association, the global market for consumer drones totalled $84m (£54m) last year but is forecast to top $300m by 2018. The CEA adds that if regulators relax the rules for the use of such aircraft by commercial organisations, the market could further swell to $1bn by 2020.

That could represent a lucrative new market for GoPro.

The firm’s existing cameras and other accessories generated $363m of sales over the first three months of 2015. That was up 54% on the previous year, but resulted in a relatively slim net profit of $16.8m.

Virtual reality mount

Mr Woodman also showed off a prototype mount that can hold six of his firm’s Hero4 cameras, each pointing in a different direction.

He said the resulting footage could be stitched together using software developed by Kolor – a start-up it bought last month – to create a single 6K-quality 360-degree image.

This could then be used with virtual reality helmets – allowing a user to change their perspective by turning their head left and right and looking up and down – or via YouTube and Facebook, which are both adding support for interactive spherical videos.

The Six-Camera Spherical Array add-on will go on sale later this year.

Mr Woodman acknowledged, however, that the high cost of buying enough cameras to fill it was likely to limit the mount’s appeal to professionals.

Google unveiled the Jump camera array at its I/O developers conference

At a subsequent event, Google also announced a more elaborate virtual reality capture device, which involves 16 GoPro cameras, as part of a tie-up between the two companies.

The footage produced by the Jump camera array will be processed by the search firm’s own software to produce panoramas, rather than spherical videos, that make use of depth data deduced by Google’s algorithms.

DJI Inspire 1 (Review)

Beauty and brains don’t normally mix. But when they do merge occasionally, the results can be quite amazing.

In the case of the Inspire 1 — DJI’s flagship consumer drone for aerial photography — form and function have merged into a near perfect balance of aesthetics and cutting-edge functionality. Beauty is of course a very subjective term but at least from my opinion, the Inspire 1’s semi-naked form is quite a piece of engineering beauty.

No gimmicky grilles, windshields or vents here. Every line, curve and contour is there for a specific purpose. The Inspire 1 is not a toy-grade quadcopter. It is a professional tool and every inch and detail of it says so.
The Inspire 1 is not a toy-grade quadcopter. It is a professional tool and every inch and detail of it says so.

Since it was released, the Inspire 1 quickly became DJI’s gold standard in aerial photography, receiving plenty of rave reviews along the way. Although recently some of its technology have trickled down to the newly-released Phantom 3, the Inspire 1 still remains as DJI’s most advanced all-in-one consumer drone. Its self-transforming air-frame design was so groundbreaking when it was released that it immediately spawned a copycat in the form of Walkera’s Voyager 3 (although Walkera stopped short of copying the Inspire 1’s ingenious retractable boom arms that also double as landing legs).

However, like any other sophisticated piece of technology, the Inspire 1 does suffer from some technical issues. Most of it are firmware in nature although occasionally some pilots have reported mechanical problems such as propellers detaching while flying (this issue was initially addressed with DJI issuing “prop locks” to properly hold the propellers in place and later changing the design of the locking mechanism).

Suffice to say, consumer drones are still in their infancy and although a lot of technological progress have been made in recent years, there is still much to improve when it comes to building drones that are truly reliable. DJI products are not immune to reliability issues but the brand still fares better when compared to some other China-based companies that throw caution to the wind when it comes to releasing products that have not undergone sufficient research and testing.


  • Weight (with battery): 2935g
  • Max. speed: 22m/s
  • Max. flight altitude: 4500m
  • Flight time: Approximately 18 minutes
  • Diagonal distance: 559 to 581mm
  • Dimensions: 438 x 451 x 301mm
  • Standard Battery: 22.2V 4500mAh (6S) LiPo
  • Standard Battery weight: 570g
  • Optional Battery: 22.8V 5700mAh (6S) LiPo
  • Motor model: DJI 3510
  • Propeller model: DJI 1345

Camera Gimbal System

  • Angular Vibration Range: 0.03 degrees
  • Controllable range: Pitch: -90° to +30° / Pan: ±320°
  • Total pixels: 12.76MP (12.4MP effective pixels)
  • Max. image size: 4000 X 3000
  • ISO range: 100-3200 (video) / 100-1600 (photo)
  • Electronic shutter speed: 8s - 1/8000s
  • FOV (Field of View): 94 degrees
  • Sensor: Sony EXMOR 1/2.3”
  • Still photography modes:
  • Single shoot
  • Burst shooting: 3/5/7 frames
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7EV BiasTime-lapse
  • Video recording modes:
  • UHD (4K): 4096 x 2160 p24/25, 3840 x 2160 p24/25/30
  • FHD: 1920 x 1080 p24/25/30/48/50/60
  • HD: 1280 x 720 p24/25/30/48/50/60
  • Max. bitrate: 60mbps
  • Supported file formats:
  • FAT32/exFAT
  • Photo: JPEG, DNG
  • Video: MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
  • Supported SD cards: Micro SD / Max capacity: 64 GB. Class 10 or UHS-1 rating required.

Retractable Boom Arms

The Inspire 1’s carbon fiber arms are one of the most peculiar features that you will notice when you first lay eyes on it and they are truly a groundbreaking feature. Prior to the Inspire 1, manufacturers and DIY drone enthusiasts alike have installed retractable landing legs onto their drones to get the legs out of the way when shooting aerial video.

The Inspire 1 took this concept to a whole new level — by creating boom arms that also double as retractable landing legs. The arms are driven by a worm gear in the fuselage that retract them during takeoff and vice versa. They are also fitted with shock absorbers that do a good job in cushioning the Inspire 1 during hard landings. While flying, the fully retracted arms and landing legs provide an unobstructed near 360 degree view for the Inspire 1’s 4K camera.

This approach saves weight and simplifies the overall design and is an industry first. Raising the boom arms also helps lower the center of gravity, giving the Inspire 1 extra stability in the air since most of its weight stays below the arms and motors.

Flight Features

Like any other GPS-enabled drones, the Inspire 1 has features such as automatic take off and landing and “return to home”. With its GPS-enabled transmitter, the Inspire 1 is also capable of having a Dynamic Home Point — which tells the Inspire 1 where the operator is located. This means you can launch the Inspire 1 at a certain point, walk or drive some distance away and it will still be able to locate where you are via the Dynamic Home Point feature. Invoking this feature will tell the Inspire 1 to return to your current location instead of where you launched it earlier.

One feature that is still conspicuously missing in the Inspire 1 is waypoint navigation which allows for full autonomous flight. There are rumors that this feature may be introduced in future updates.

Built for Maximum Propulsion

The Inspire 1 is propelled by massive 13-inch carbon fiber reinforced propellers which are paired to powerful 3510 350kV motors that offer plenty of torque. This propeller-motor combination coupled with a 6-cell 4500mAh battery means the Inspire 1 has plenty of propulsion to play around with.
The Inspire 1 is propelled by massive 13-inch carbon fiber reinforced propellers which are paired to powerful 3510 350kV motors.

The Inspire 1 is propelled by massive 13-inch carbon fiber reinforced propellers which are paired to powerful 3510 350kV motors.

With that much propeller thrust yielding a top speed of 22m/s or about 80km/h, the Inspire 1 can feel like a cross between a 250-class racer and an aerial photography platform. While most aerial photography drones fly around like lumbering giants in the air, this is one quadcopter that can perform amazingly fast and tight maneuvers as well as it does slow and steady flyovers.
…this is one quadcopter that can perform amazingly fast and tight maneuvers as well as it does slow and steady flyovers.

Such a high top-end speed also makes the Inspire 1 suited for filming high speed car chase scenes along winding roads — something that less powerful entry-level aerial photography drones such as the Phantom 3 would struggle in. The powerful propulsion also means the Inspire 1 holds its position very well even in strong gusts of wind.

Camera Gimbal System

The Zenmuse X3 camera gimbal system is probably the main star attraction in the Inspire 1. When it was released, the Inspire 1 became the world’s first consumer drone to feature a 4K camera. The X3 camera is equipped with a 20mm f2.8 rectilinear lens consisting of 9 elements with a field of view of 94 degrees. Having a rectilinear lens means the camera does not suffer from any fisheye effect that is commonly found in consumer drones such as the Phantom 2.

Having a narrower field of view also means the X3 is more prone to the jello effect when compared to other cameras that have wider angles. To solve this issue, the camera comes with a filter thread and a neutral density filter which you can screw onto the camera to eliminate jello. The filter thread can also be used to attach other filters such as UV filters or polarizers.

The X3 is capable of recording 4K video at 30fps. It can also do 60fps video at 1080P and shoot 12MP still photos in RAW and DNG formats. Having 4K video is great if you’re the type who does a lot of post processing to your videos. If you’re outputting in 1080P, the extra resolution gives plenty of room for cropping and editing. Users also have the option of manually setting the camera’s ISO and shutter speed — a feature not commonly found in cheaper consumer drones where all these settings are done automatically. This ability to manually control the camera’s settings is a must-have if you intend to have full creative control of your shots.

Image stabilization is handled by a 3-axis detachable gimbal which has a sensitivity of 0.03 degrees. This high level of sensitivity allows the Zenmuse X3 to produce buttery smooth aerial videos even in windy conditions. DJI’s range of Zenmuse gimbals are known to produce impressive aerial videos and the X3 is no exception to this.

The Inspire 1 also comes in a dual transmitter kit which allows 1 person to focus on the piloting while another handles the camera and gimbal controls. This is a great feature to have if you’re doing slightly more complicated aerial photography where the drone is headed in one direction while the camera faces another.

To get better value out of the Zenmuse X3 system, DJI has recently released a hand grip that allows you to use the Zenmuse X3 as a handheld device for taking videos on the ground — a feature that was clearly inspired by the Yuneec Q500. To transform the Zenmuse X3 into a handheld system, simply detach it from the Inspire 1 and reattach it onto the hand grip and you’re ready to shoot.

The Zenmuse X3 is also modular and can be upgraded in the future. It is also important to note that the Inspire 1 will not work with any other camera or gimbal other than the Zenmuse X3. If you have a GoPro or some mirrorless camera that you want to use for aerial photography, you will not be able to attach them to an Inspire 1.

Intelligent Power Management System

Smart batteries are all the rage these days, especially with consumer drones. The Inspire 1 features a 6-cell 22.2V 4500mAh LiPo smart battery that gives a flight time of approximately 18 minutes. Thanks to the battery’s smart features, the pilot is able to monitor its status live via the DJI Pilot App. Live data include remaining power, voltage of each cell, total lifetime charges and discharges and remaining flight time so you’ll know when to safely land your drone.

However, such smart features come at a high price. Each 4500mAh battery costs about $165 with the optional 5700mAh version costing about $199.

DJI Pilot App

The DJI Pilot App which is available for free in both Android and IOS versions, is a must-have component when flying the Inspire 1. Once you have Pilot App installed on your tablet or smartphone, you can then place it at the top of your transmitter’s built-in smartphone/tablet holder.

Pilot App allows the user to control flight and camera operations and serves as a kind of heads-up display. It also provides a live video feed as well as other telemetry information such as battery status, GPS status, map view, etc. Live video feed is handled by DJI’s excellent Lightbridge transmitter which can broadcast 720P HD video up to 2km away.

Vision Positioning System

One of the coolest features the Inspire 1 has to offer is its Vision Positioning System — a system of sonar sensors and optical flow camera that help the Inspire 1 figure out its position relative to the ground when there is no GPS signal available for positioning itself.

This feature allows the Inspire 1 to stay put at a fixed position and altitude while flying indoors. By relying on its sonar sensors when flying indoors, the Inspire 1 is capable of knowing its exact altitude from ground level while its down-facing camera allows it to know where it is on the XY plane.

However, the Vision Positioning System only works properly when conditions are ideal for it to function. Some users have reported that the Inspire 1 fails to hold its position properly indoors when flying above surfaces such as grass or thick carpets that do not reflect sonar very well or highly reflective surfaces that tend to confuse its optical flow camera such as marble and glass floors.

Firmware Issues and Customer Service

The Inspire 1 was primarily designed to be a turnkey aerial photography platform. Like the smaller Phantoms, it comes with plenty of intelligent features that help make piloting it easier. With that said, intelligent and sophisticated features often entail complicated firmware with a lot of bugs and issues.

With companies such as DJI rushing to release every product they develop to stay ahead of the competition, many firmware issues in drones often go undetected until users themselves discover them. Almost from the day the first batch of Inspire 1 started flying, users have reported a long list of firmware issues that have caused fly-aways and crashes. These problems, coupled with lackluster customer service by DJI, made for some really frustrating ownership experiences for early Inspire 1 owners.

To counter the problem, DJI responded by releasing regular updates. This led to a wider issue which still remains a highly debated topic among Inspire 1 owners today — the Inspire 1 will not fly until you update it with the latest firmware. And to make matters worse, DJI has programmed no-fly zones into the Inspire 1 which cannot be disabled or altered by the user. In theory, DJI dictates when and where an Inspire 1 can fly and since it uses proprietary firmware that cannot be altered, there is no easy way for users to gain complete control of their quadcopters.
In theory, DJI dictates when and where an Inspire 1 can fly…

Although features such as the “no-fly zones” and mandatory firmware updates are there for the greater good, some have argued that DJI has no right to force such policies onto users. Imagine owning a car that you have paid for with your own hard-earned money, only to find out that it wouldn’t start if you had missed a scheduled oil change, forgotten to balance the tires … you get the idea.


Firmware issues aside, a good drone pilot must have some basic grasp of how to fly a multirotor manually and know exactly what to do when things go wrong. Although the Inspire 1 comes with plenty of smart features that take much of the thinking out of flying a drone, being too dependent on technology can have its drawbacks. No matter how convincing those slick marketing ads tell you about how cutting-edge these drones are, failure is something that can never be discounted from any man-made device.


With that said, owning an Inspire 1 can be a pleasant experience if you are already well aware of the challenges you’ll face when flying a multirotor and are fully prepared when things go wrong. For a quadcopter, the Inspire 1 has plenty of smart features but when these features fail to work, having a good technical understanding of drones can really save you expensive repair bills.

If you have decided to purchase an Inspire 1, you’re in for a less painful experience since much of the problems plaguing it in its early days have been resolved. Still there may be some that have yet to be discovered, just waiting to pop up when the time is right. Despite the ever present prospect of failures, the Inspire 1 is a far more stable product now than it was just 7 months ago.
Despite the ever present prospect of failures, the Inspire 1 is a far more stable product now than it was just 7 months ago.

The Inspire 1 may be a bit pricey, but its superb flight performance, ergonomics and excellent Zenmuse X3 camera gimbal system all but make up for it. This is a drone that was designed to be an all-in-one aerial photography platform and is aimed at aerial photographers who want something better and more robust than a Phantom minus the excessive bulk and complexity of larger 800 to 1000-size multirotors.

With a diagonal motor size of 550mm, the Inspire 1 is reasonably more portable than its larger professional brethren and can be transported fairly easily. It takes only a few minutes of setting up before it is flying in the air. Portability, a highly stable camera gimbal system that takes impressive images and video and dual transmitter ability make the Inspire 1 an attractive option for aerial photography crews.

The Inspire 1’s smart batteries can be a bit of a pain, though, with each standard 4500mAh battery costing at least $165 a pop and yielding a flight time of approximately 18 minutes only. For a typical day at work, you’d probably need at least 3 batteries which means spending about $330 just to purchase those two extra batteries.

Another thing I would like to point out is DJI’s insistance on grounding any Inspire 1 from flying without the latest updates. That, along with other restrictions such as built-in “no fly zones” have long been a thorn in ownership experience for many Inspire 1 owners. So before splashing your money on one, consider this carefully — your Inspire 1 will not fly until DJI feels it is safe to do so.

To wrap things up, the Inspire 1 is an amazing piece of equipment to fly despite its drawbacks. If you have already set your mind on purchasing one, be on the lookout for firmware issues whenever you fly and the Inspire 1 will reward you with some really fascinating aerial images and videos. Do your research, fly safe, be prepared for any in-flight problems and the Inspire 1 won’t disappoint.

NASA and Verizon to Develop Drone Tracking System

With the number of civilian and commercial drones in the air increasing with every single day, it’s about time that someone came up with a system to manage this ever increasing traffic of flying robots in the skies.

According to The Guardian, NASA and Verizon have announced a plan to develop a drone tracking system that makes use of cellphone towers in the US. Under this partnership, which was signed last year, NASA will be developing a drone traffic management system using radar, satellites or cellular signals. Testing of this system will begin this summer. Companies such as Google and Amazon, which are developing their own drone programs, will also be assisting the development.

Google has pledged $450,000 to share data from its Project Wing tests to assist in developing the new tracking system. It also hopes to test its self-driving cars at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California under the agreement. Ames is also the site where Amazon has spent $1.8 million to test and develop its Prime Air delivery drones.

Verizon, on the other hand, will be developing a system to monitor drones using its cellular network. The system is expected to be finalized by 2019.

The entire system, valued at $500,000, aims to facilitate safe flying for commercial and civilian drones and restricting them from flying into sensitive airspace (such as the White House). The system will also allow air traffic controllers to ground drones during bad weather and to manage drone traffic to avoid collisions.

Syma X13 Miracle (In-Depth Review)

The X13 Miracle (also known as the X13 Storm) is Syma’s latest toy-grade mini quadcopter in the sub $50 price range. It features headless flying, a 6-axis gyro and all the other standard flying features commonly found in mini quadcopters such as the ability to perform flips.

What’s really neat about the X13 when compared to other mini quads in the same class is its enclosed battery compartment and power switch — these are features that you don’t normally find in quadcopters of this size. They are really nice features to have and make the X13 look somewhat like a mini Phantom. No wires sticking out or partially exposed battery to ruin the lines of its x-shaped body. And there’s no need to manually power up the quad too by connecting the battery. Just flick on the power switch and it’s ready to fly. These features really make the X13 stand out in its class, giving Syma’s latest offering a more “finished product” look.


  • Dimensions: 160 x 160 x 40mm (with prop guards)
  • Diagonal motor distance: 102mm
  • Motor size: 6 x 15mm
  • Weight: 33g (with battery and prop guards)
  • Flight time: 6 to 9 minutes
  • Battery: 3.7V 200mAh Li Po
  • Charging time: 40 – 50 minutes
  • Control distance: approximately 20m
  • Transmitter power: 4 x 1.5V AA batteries (not included)

Syma is well-known for producing quadcopters that are very stable and easy to fly and the X13 is no exception to this tradition. Compared to other mini quads, the X13 is incredibly stable when flown indoors. Hovering and making the X13 stay put at one position is fairly easy when compared to other similar quads such as the JJRC F180. The X13 is one quadcopter that does not have a tendency to stray away on its own and is very responsive to pilot input. For these reasons, the X13 makes for an excellent trainer drone.

Due to its modest motor size, the X13 does not zip around in the air as fast as the UDI 841 or the JJRC H8C. Yaw rate and speed are reasonable but not overly sporty.

Thanks to a lightweight body combined with small and light motors, the X13 is capable of flying between 6 and 9 minutes despite having a battery capacity of just 200mAh. In contrast, the UDI 841 weighs 55g (with battery) and has a shorter flight time of about 3 to 7 minutes only despite having a battery capacity 450mAh (3.7V), more than twice the capacity of the X13 battery.

The X13’s modest flying speed makes it ideal for tight indoor environments where airspace is a premium. Flying a powerful mini quad such as the UDI 841 fast in tight indoor spaces can be a bit tricky. The X13, on the other hand, really feels at home in such environments. You can squeeze as much speed as you can from a X13 indoors and not worry too much about seriously damaging it in a high speed crash. It simply can’t go fast enough to crash badly and thanks to its light overall weight (33g), you can crash a X13 over and over again without causing any serious damage.

Refreshed Looks

The X13 features side LED stripes that help you identify its front and rear. The front stripe is blue while the rear is red. There are two more stripes at the sides and they are white in color. This color coding really helps a lot when flying, especially if you like performing plenty of yaw movements. The two propellers in front are black while the ones at the back are white which also helps in orientation. Other than the distinctive LED stripes, the X13 looks like any other quadcopter that make use of the ubiquitous X-shape design that was made popular by DJI’s Phantom line of quadcopters.

Unlike many other toy-grade quadcopters, the X13 does not have a camera. This is one quadcopter that was made purely for flying. The absence of a camera also means a lighter quadcopter that uses less power which translates into longer flight times. Ditching the camera also means a lower and more attractive price tag.

Flight Features

The X13 does pretty much what every other mini quadcopter does. It can do flips in all four directions as well as fly in “head free” mode. To perform a flip, simply press the button at the upper right of the transmitter and hold it down while you move your right stick in the direction you want the X13 to flip.

The “head free” mode is useful for those who are new to flying multirotors and can easily get disoriented when the front of the quadcopter faces a different direction to the direction they’re facing. For instance, if a quadcopter is facing the pilot then all controls on the transmitter become inverted (except for the throttle) — left becomes right and vice versa. To solve this problem, the “head free” mode was introduced. When flying in “head free” mode, the quadcopter will move in any direction the pilot points it to, irrespective of where its front is facing.

Due to its light weight and small size, the X13 is ideal only for indoor flying. Flying outdoors is possible only in calm weather conditions. The X13 can really have a hard time even when flying against slight gusts of wind thanks to its rather tame flying characteristics.


The X13 is shipped with the standard Syma 2.4GHz transmitter that is commonly sold with smaller Syma quadcopters. It is a step below the larger transmitter that comes with the popular Syma X5C and is a lot smaller.

The transmitter is comfortable to use and features control sticks that are rubberized which are a real pleasure to use. All in all, the X13 transmitter is a basic one that does its job well enough. No fancy frills here. Trim and power buttons on the transmitter also have a nice tactile feel and are not flimsy.

Enclosed Battery Compartment

As mentioned earlier, the X13 features an enclosed battery bay which probably makes it one of the first toy quadcopters to have such a feature in 2015. The battery bay is just large enough to fit the X13’s 200mAh battery. This is a neat feature to have as it keeps the battery and wires concealed. However, there is a drawback — you can’t fit anything larger than a 250mAh battery in the X13. To do this, the only way is to strap the larger battery below the X13 with a rubber band.

If you’re thinking of using a higher capacity battery on your X13, I’d recommend nothing larger than a 300mAh battery. I flew my X13 with a 450mAh battery and although it did quite well when the battery was full, it started becoming increasingly sluggish as the battery began to drain. Doing flips while on a 450mAh battery was impossible as well since the X13 simply couldn’t recover from each flip due to the excess weight.


The Syma X13 is a great beginner quadcopter for indoor flying. It is highly affordable, looks great and incredibly easy to fly. With its tame flying characteristics, the X13’s motor and propellers do not have enough grunt to cause serious injuries thus making it a great gift for kids.

Due to its light overall weight and lack of a camera, the X13 has a decent average flight time that can reach 9 minutes which is impressive considering its battery capacity is only 200mAh. It also features a neat body that comes with an enclosed battery compartment and power switch — features that do not normally come with mini quadcopters in the same class. However, the X13 battery bay cannot take anything larger than a 250mAh battery.

Costing less than $50, the X13 is an excellent choice if you’re looking to buy your first toy-grade quadcopter. It also makes for an excellent trainer drone. This is one quadcopter you can crash over and over again without worrying too much.

DJI’s Matrice M100 May Be Compatible With VR Goggles and Hand-Gesture Control

The new DJI Matrice M100 (previously known as the Matrix 100) may herald a new era of possibilities in multirotor technology. Aimed at developers, the M100 was designed specifically as a platform for developing new multirotor hardware and software.

According to DJI, among the many possibilities with the M100 is its integration with Oculus VR goggles and gesture-control systems such as the one developed by Leap Motion. Imagine flying a drone using a set of virtual reality goggles and controlling it by just waving your hands — these are just some of the many possibilities with drone technology in the near future.

With its many communication ports, expansion bays and power supply leads, the Matrice M100 was designed to be set up quickly and flown without the need for any complicated programming. It’s also possible to mount peripheral hardware on the M100 to access flight data and other systems. This makes it ideal for developers wanting to test and create new technology.

The M100 has a flight time of about 20 minutes with a payload of about 2.2 pounds. It can also carry a second battery to extend its flight time to about 40 minutes. However, carrying an extra battery also means a lighter payload.

Like the Phantom 3 and Inspire 1, the M100 can make use of DJI’s Lightbridge video transmission which allows 720p HD video to be transmitted up to a distance of about 2km.

The M100 can also be used with DJI’s very first object-avoidance system which was announced recently. The new system makes use of ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras to prevent a drone from colliding with objects as it flies.

The new object-avoidance system will cost $999 with the M100 costing $3299. Both products can be pre-ordered now at DJI dealers and are expected to ship by the end of June.

Drone Being Developed to Fly Autonomously Inside Fukushima Reactor Buildings

A drone is being developed to survey the interior of reactor buildings at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The unmanned aircraft will use lasers to detect and avoid obstacles in flight and will be able to land to replace its batteries in the absence of an operator.

A test flight was completed at the plant’s No. 5 reactor building, which escaped severe damage in the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

It is not known when the meter-wide hexacopter will be ready to begin inspections inside the buildings housing the No. 1 to No. 3 reactors, which suffered meltdowns, but the team behind it is confident the drone will have a role to play.

“The time will certainly come when drone technology will be of help,” said a member of the development team.

The drone is the work of Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory Ltd., a university-based venture headed by Kenzo Nonami, a professor at Chiba University.

The six-propeller drone is equipped with a camera, an instrument to measure radiation levels, and a dust collector.

The aircraft is different from conventional drones in that it can detect walls and other obstacles by laser, even when inside a reactor building, where GPS would not work and where radiation doses may be too high for humans.

Chiba University professor Kenzo Nonami poses with a drone prototype in Chiba on September 2014. The model envisaged for work inside the reactor buildings at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would have six propellers and the ability to replace its own batteries. | (Photo by Kyodo)

The information gathered during a survey flight is converted into three-dimensional data in real time, enabling the production of images of damaged walls and dangling piping, for instance.

The lab has also developed an instrument for automatic battery replacement to eliminate the risk of plant workers being exposed to radiation during battery changes.

When the power begins to run low, the drone automatically lands on a “heliport” on the flatbed of a truck and loads itself with a new battery. This will enable it to prolong its mission.

In the demonstration test at the plant’s No. 5 reactor building, the drone was used to carry out an inspection from the first floor to the fifth floor, where a pool for spent fuel is located. The test proved the aircraft’s ability to shoot video and measure radiation levels.

Nonami started developing the drone soon after the March 2011 nuclear crisis began, anticipating that there would be demand for a flying robot in what is shaping up to be a decades-long cleanup.

“Once the work shifts to the stage of removing melted nuclear fuel from damaged reactors, radiation doses are expected to rise in the work areas,” Nonami said.

“I think the drone will be useful as it can be sent to measure radiation levels and contribute to giving the highest priority to human safety.”