Bits to Atoms: Co-op Quadcopter Challenge

This month’s Bits to Atoms project explores the idea of teamwork through quadcopter hacking. Jeremy and Sean set up a game for the Tested team to cooperatively pilot a quadcopter through an obstacle course, and Adam comes in to save the day with his decisive leadership.

Comments (38)

38 thoughts on “Bits to Atoms: Co-op Quadcopter Challenge

  1. This is great fun.

    Few more days of training and you will be great at this new rising sport 🙂

  2. That is such an awesome idea! I need to replace the broken motor on my Hubsan X4 and make one of these myself. Maybe even on my Syma X5C! I think my friends and I would have a blast with this.

    I wonder how hard it would be for 1 player such that they need to use both hands and both feet. I think that would be super difficult. Maybe drummers would fare a little better!

    By the way, as for your surprise that it worked with the extra wiring resistance, it’s not quite just a case of it being a sweep from zero(ish) resistance to full resistance – it’s a potential divider formed of two resistors, so think of a resistor from 3.3V to the wiper (sometimes called the tap), then another resistor from the wiper to ground, so as you turn the pot, one resistor increases and the other decreases. If drawn out schematically, with the top resistor (3.3V to wiper) being R1 and the bottom being R2, you’d get an output voltage of Vout = 3.3V * R2 / (R1 + R2).

    By adding the long wires, you’re just increasing both resistors (although negligibly). The net result would be that you might have a total of just over 5k.

    You could almost certainly use 10k pots instead of 5k and it would still function exactly the same as it’s purely ratiometric. 47k or 100k would probably even work, so that lends itself nicely to being able to use pretty much whatever you have laying around. They wouldn’t even need to all be the same.

  3. If you could manage the actual soldering on the back of the board ,a big glob of hot glue (which is nonconductive) makes good strain relief.

  4. Looked really fun. Disappointed that the controls were mostly knobs though. You might have been able to gear a lever so it wouldn’t need to match the throw of the potentiometer one to one. I was thinking you could use one of those sliding controls you see on sound boards to control up and down.

    I love this series, keep up the great work guys!

  5. That was great. Thanks for showing all of the fails too… That was the best part, watching the mind-meld between the 4 of them to become in sync. Loved it!

    I think you guys need to take that to a toy company! 😀

  6. That was amazing. I’ve always thought it would be really fun to hack a quadcopter to be controlled by a Raspberry Pi. Then you can program it to fly. I couldn’t figure out the control part though, but hacking the controller like you did looks easier than I thought. Great explanation on hacking the controller by the way. I loved watching Jeremy figure out how the controller worked by examining the PCB. Very educational. Great video guys!

  7. Star Trek Bridge Crew IRL…

    That was ridiculously fun to watch !!!

    So much so that I feel I must build one of these rigs for my family to try out.

    Can you tell us what the quad copter you used was ?

    Sean, love the MST3K shirt…Went and saw the live show with my son in Denver…It was great !!! If you get a chance to see it I highly recommend it…

    Thanks !!!

  8. This has reignited my interest in an exploded Guitar Hero controller for co-op single player games. One person per giant button!

  9. This was amazing! I think you guys have stumbled upon something brilliant here. I’ll definitely be trying this out myself!

  10. That was fun; it was crazy. That was crazy fun. You have made a four-person TARDIS.

    Stumcconnel explained how a potentiometer works inside. To the rotary encoder point, rotary encoders are discs connected to the rotating shaft that are read optically. Picture a wheel with many black and white even divisions of 360 degrees or “spokes”. Microcontrollers read it by counting the changes from black to white or vice versa, but a dedicated part of the system must always be ready to “see” a change. That is done with hardware interrupts. That is a relative encoder, but absolute encoders also exist. Instead of solid spokes, those wheels can be read as binary numbers. Each “spoke” corresponds, in binary, to the position around the circle. Those are the best method for digitizing rotation, but they’re crazy expensive. Sometimes, instead of black and white printed spokes, manufacturers cut the disc into the same sort of patterns.

  11. Give it to Jeremy for is throttle control. Holding steady altitude is the hardest thing to master.

  12. Haven’t seen Jeremy having this much fun in a long time. Great to watch!

    Loved the 4:3 montage 🙂

  13. This is the best Bits to Atoms project yet. I was giggling like a child when you were all trying to learn how to fly it. Keep ’em coming Jeremy & Sean!

  14. Bits to Atoms has risen quickly to be some of the best content on Tested. Well done everyone. Can’t wait to see more.

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