Dronegames In San Francisco Features Twitter Fists, Groupon Leashes, MiFi And Botnets

Yesterday, we were invited to judge a really cool competition, the Dronegames. Basically, a bunch of teams that like to hack on helicopter-like Drones came together in Groupon’s San Francisco office to come up with some really cool creations. I expected things to spin and go upside down, but these folks did things way more advanced.

What’s a Drone exactly? Let’s ask Wikipedia:

An unmanned combat air vehicle or combat drone or simply “drone” is an unmanned aerial vehicle that is armed and has no onboard pilot. Currently operational drones are under real-time human control of unknown precision.

Basically, a bunch of hackers used Javascript and NodeCopter-Style programming to do some amazing things. How amazing? It was Drone warfare. But not for military use, this was for fun. Check out some of the things we got to see today.

Using a MiFi Card To Create A Long Distance Drone

The problem with Drones, the ones that we play with that is, is that they don’t have really long distance capabilities? Why? How do you find a connection for them so that you can continue to control it? How about a Verizon MiFi card? Check this out:

Drone on a leash

A team of Groupon folks created a Drone on a leash that had facial recognition capabilities on its on-board camera. As it captured a pick, it would tweet them immediately. Check out the results.

Follow a fist

Some engineers at Twitter came up with a Drone that uses image recognition, and it follows your fist around. It really works and was pretty impressive.

James and his DroneBotnet

A fella named James, who oddly looked like a very young Steve Jobs, decided that it would be cool if you could use a computer or Drone to infect another Drone with a series of commands. What if you could take control over a connected Drone and make it unusable…sending it into a berzerker mode? James did it. And won the whole competition.


So there you have it. Science. Technology. Fun. That was Dronegames and we can’t wait for the next one. Interested in doing your own Drone project or getting someone a holiday gift? Amazon sells the same ones used today for $299.