Bond meets MacGyver: $100 micro drone is designed for hacks, 3D-printed mods (VIDEO)

I’ve just discovered my kitchen is a treacherous place to learn to fly a micro-quadcopter. My pilot’s license has enabled me to get a bit of stick time in lots of unusual flying machines, including a motor glider, a WWII era biplane, several ultralights, and an ex-Soviet military transport, but none of them have prepared me to handle Extreme Fliers’ Micro Drone 2.0.

This blinking, buzzing, and downright adorable contraption is much more sensitive than anything else I’ve flown, and can maneuver in several degrees of freedom I didn’t even know existed.

Due to gusty wind conditions in the yard, my first test flights were conducted indoors. But even in still air, learning to fly the Micro Drone 2.0 takes time, patience and good hand-eye coordination. But indoor flight has its own challenges – especially when it’s conducted within the narrow, obstacle strewn canyons formed by my kitchen counters. Thank goodness the little critter is gyro-equipped and computer-stabilized or I’d never have been able to even achieve the shaky 1-minute test hop I documented in the video below. I’m told however that, in properly-trained hands, my machine is a little easier to fly and has smoother, more positive directional control than many drones costing 2-4× more. After an hour or two of practice, the copter’s already spending more time in the air than waiting for me to retrieve it from whatever dark corner it randomly dove into. It will be a while before I’m able to casually maneuver it around a crowded room or make spot landings on someone’s lap but, as they say, getting there will be half the fun. … (Read more)