Hex brings to life an open source idea by collaborating with a community from around the world. This is not like your normal quadcopter and has been dubbed a nanocopter by the makers. Hex may seem like your ordinary copter, but it is anything but ordinary.
Starting out as a Kickstarter project, Hex has grown immensely over the past year with over 4,600 backers and $563,000 raised. While you may be wondering what makes Hex different from the rest, you will be shocked by what comes next.
Let’s see how Hex plans on making you see the world from a completely new perspective.
No complicated controls are needed to operate this drone. Instead, it uses your smartphone for complete control.
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Not only will you be seeing the flight in real-time through your phone’s screen, you will be using the same phone to move your copter through the air.
How This Works
Mobile devices have gravity sensors. These sensors are used to effectively maneuver your drone crisply through the air.
Not only can you use your smart phone, you can download an app that will allow you to take further control of the drone. Your app allows for:
- Virtual stick control
- Sensor control
- Photo and video sharing
- Video recording
Everything is ready for you and waiting within the app. You will be able to manage all controls and settings for your drone from one easy-to-change screen. Being open source, you can further develop the app if you would like to control your drone in a completely unique way.
Users can also swap out phone control for traditional controls. Using a traditional control, you will be able to elevate, accelerate and pilot your drone. The app will still be needed for setting customizations if you do opt to not use your mobile device.
One of the best parts about Hex is that you truly get to customize your nanocopter. This is not done through sticks or kits, but rather by 3D printing. The copter is built with customization in mind.
The shells of the copter simply snap into place. This allows for you to unsnap the shell and replace it using your own design.
The complete circuitry will stay in place, so you will be able to create or download a new shell design and print it on your own printer or at the store. Finally, you can snap on or off shells at your own whim. This is something that has not been done before and puts personalization on a whole new level.
The current specifications have been listed on the manufacturer’s website:
- Propeller Size: 56 x 8.5 mm
- Flight Time: 7 minutes
- Wi-Fi Cam: 640 x 480 video resolution
- Battery: 350ma
- Motor Rotations: 50,000 per minute
- Sharing: Real-time video and picture sharing available
- Sensors: 6-axis
As far as maximum distance and speeds are concerned, there has not been any data released.
There have been quite a few features discussed as well as peripherals that will make flying unlike anything before. Let’s take a look at some of the standout features introduced by Hex.
New sensors are always being added to Hex. In fact, there is complete auto stabilization seen to allow for a safe and steady flight. When the copter is not balanced, the sensors will signal the unbalanced motors to adjust their speed so that the copter is able to balance itself.
Being small in size, we would love to see how this copter flies when there is mild to moderate wind seen. The balancing should compensate appropriately to adjust for the unbalance.
One of the things that smaller copters lack is a camera. This is what most people like about Hex better than any other feature. There is a small camera attached, or you can attach your own, that will be able to capture video.
The current camera specifications allow for a resolution of 640 x 480.
Using Wi-Fi, your copter will transmit video right to your mobile device. This video will be streamed in real-time so that you know exactly what your camera is viewing. Since your mobile device is your controller, this literally puts you in the pilot’s seat so that you can view the world from your drone
Hex allows for Hex peripherals to be used. The one item that has been announced is, perhaps, the best announcement that the company has made yet.
The FPV glasses come as a kit and does not include a battery. You can also use an external power source to use your glasses for uninterrupted FPV flying. At a 7 minute flight time, this should not be much of a concern.
The FPV glasses allow you to truly become the pilot. This is done using a 32 degree field of view and 640 x 480 resolution. Users will have both visual and audio input and output. Simply look through the glasses and experience what life is like in the sky.
The one burning question we have is how controls will work when using FPV? Can you use your head to control the copter, or will you need to still use your mobile device?
Having Arduino compatibility means that you will be able to change the way your Hex behaves. This is not an easy task and you will need programming experience, but the entire platform is open source. Users can modify the software or even the way the hardware behaves to tweak the way their Hex will fly.
Hacking is not something that is possible with 99 percent of drones. How will this work in your benefit? It is not unrealistic to think that community members will be widely sharing their hacks so that your flying experience is even better.
Hex is slated as being very inexpensive and pre-orders are available on the company website. If you want to own a nanocopter that is 100 percent unique and provides you with the utmost in customization, the Hex is the copter you will want.