RFC: Birdhouse - a robotic FPV airport

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Hello PhantomPilots!

I could use your feedback on a product I'm developing called "Birdhouse". Its a remote, robotic FPV airport for consumer drones like the Phantom. Prototype stage, but ready to spill the beans: Flying Chair - Introducing Birdhouse

Birdhouse installs outside and connects to your TV inside. Live LOS and FPV views–paired with live R/C controls–extend by cable up to 50m into the house / vehicle / boat / etc. that Birdhouse is mounted on. Now remotely launch; fly; land; shelter & renew your drone, 10X a day, with zero hands-on.

(also runs headless, so if your UAS spec has scribbles like "robo-shelter w/recharge and REST, compat. w/Phantom+Inspire" ... step this way)

Submitted for your consideration:
  • Do you grok it? What do you think of the features and use cases?
  • Does this address a problem for you? If so, what's a solution worth?
  • What can I fix or change?
Your comments will steer the next several months of product & biz dev, so I really appreciate ALL feedback ... thanks!!

-Mark
 
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Cool idea - I like the graphics. How much of your product do you have done yet - or is this at the concept stage right now?

Also - have you figured out a way to recharge the batter on a phantom without having to go out and load in a new battery?
 
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Hi ecolumbia999,

Great questions, thanks for asking.

Re: "how far along" : the timeline gives a detailed answer, but in short Birdhouse is well past concept stage given 2+ years of HW+SW R&D plus provisional and full patent filings. Basically the design and architecture is complete and I'm cranking out HW and SW towards an MVP.

Re: "charging" : the FAQ needs a dedicated answer to this (will do), but in the meantime here's language from another entry "what mods are needed":
  1. On-board charging: your drone gets an upgraded battery terminal PCB and stick-on docking pad. Weight is negligible for no impact on flight characteristics or CoG.
To clarify: inside the battery compartment of your Phantom there's a small PCB hosting the battery's terminal mains. That "dumb" PCB is replaced with a "smart" one adding a microcontroller and power transistor which--after docking with Birdhouse--allows the battery to be removed electrically without removing it physically. In this "virtually removed" state the battery is connected to charging current.

The replacement PCB is basically the same weight as factory, and the docking pad is 3D-printed using CF filament.

Hope that helps,
Mark
 
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What do you mean by a stick on docking pad? I'm not getting that part. Do you mean placing a pad on the bottom of the drone that facilitates the charging or a pad that sticks on one of the sides of the phantom?
 
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The docking pad nestles into that curved inlet above the battery, offering contact pads for power and comms. At docking, press-pins connect Birdhouse to control the aforementioned power controller.

Beyond this electrical dock, there's optical and mechanical docking for battery control i.e. I can read the LEDs and press the button (i.e. its reversed to an API).
 

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