A few weeks ago the Crazyflie Nano captured our collective imaginations by winging its way around an open plan office and looking like a cross between a hummingbird and the robotic butterfly that steals things in Dora the Explorer. The tiny quadrotor robot is now available for pre-order for $173 for the multi-sensor version and $143 for a basic version with position sensors. The product should ship in April.
The project is completely open source and requires a soldering iron and some smarts to complete. The $173 version includes an altimeter and magnetometer so you can tell your height and direction. You can control it with a standard gaming joystick connected to a PC. It weighs 19 grams and is about four inches long and wide. It can fly for 7 minutes on one 20 minute charge, which is about on par for most flying toys.
The creators, Marcus Eliasson, Arnaud Taffanel, and Tobias Antonsson, built the project over the past three years while holding down day jobs. They’re already running into the hurdles of Internet popularity. In response to a potential buyer asking about the need for a soldering iron, Antonsson writes: