Fly it; play it; hack it. That’s the idea behind one of Minnesota’s latest Kickstarter campaigns recently launched to fund the flight of NanoQ, a dogfighting quadcopter powered by a clever controller called Mimix.
“I am simultaneously intrigued yet bored with what you’d find off the shelf in the R/C aircraft space,” says Fairman, who brought Pederson’s IP to the New Product Design and Business Development graduate level course at the University of Minnesota in 2007 for further development and commercialization.
Now, their goal is to raise $230k before November 14 by offering the system at between $99-$249 a pop depending on the pledge level.
Capture the flag, IR laser tag, or straight-up kamikaze mission are a few of the multi-player games in store, for what Fairman considers “a flying experience so intuitive out of the box that the gaming elements are absolutely immersive.”
The palm sized USB chargeable copters are under 6 inches in diameter and supported by an open communications protocol, which adds a hacker element to the mix. So far, the prototypes have been designed using 3D printers, but the team is exploring relationships with local manufacturers who want to play in the toy space as the demand is gauged by pre-orders.
“Starting with a consumer toy product launch through Kickstarter, we can the development costs out early and depending on the results of this initiative, we can envision a line of toys or larger copters with cameras and load bearing capacity.”
But it’s not all just fun and games for QFO Labs, either.
“The implications of this product extend well beyond the toy market. The control system technology we have rivals that of military-grade, which has the potential to change how real copters could be flown,” says Fairman, noting that CTO John Condon was a senior designer with Lockheed and Martin prior to joining QFO.
Now that’s a flight that would take some serious backing to fuel.