I attended the monthly San Diego Hardware Hackers meeting earlier this week with one of my sons. The presentation was by a local Kickstarter-funded company, Robolink, who is building a device called CoDrone. The CoDrone (portmanteau of Code and Drone) is geared to help teach kids how to code. It can be programmed using the Arduino IDE, and can also be morphed into a Rover kit by replacing the propellers with wheels. Fun stuff! You will find the lessons plans here if you want to get a deeper view into how it is programmed. The goal is to teach computer science to kids as young as the fourth grade.
The Robolink presenter quoted Steve Jobs who once said:
“Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”
Some other interesting features:
- CoDrone can be controlled through a smartphone using Bluetooth.
- Each rotor is independent so the CoDrone can flip itself back over if it is upside down by powering on just two rotors.
- Each drone battery (one used per flight) is good for 5-8 minutes of flight time. You can charge four batteries together in 40 minutes.
- Sensors include an IR sensor, 3-axis gyroscope, and a barometer.
- It includes an on-board camera that is currently used as a sensor, but *might* be able to be used for steaming in the future.
The CoDrone is expected to ship in April. You can learn more on their Kickstarter page.