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The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (see “CES 2015 In Review”) was host to thousands of vendors, including a lot of robotic and UAV companies. One of the items flying around the show was from TobyRich, a German technology company with quite a few mobile gadgets.
So what’s next for TobyRich and gaming drones? I talked with Ulrich Ditschler, co-founder of TobyRich, to find out the answer to both questions.
Wong: What made TobyRich decide to create the gaming drone TobyRich.Vegas?
Ditschler: We were bored with all of the helicopters and quadcopters out there. We were dreaming of autonomous airplanes that are unbelievably easy to control through your smartphone. In addition, since we love gaming, we dreamed of dogfights coming close to reality by combining the real and virtual world. That´s why we created TobyRich.Vegas—the world´s first gaming drone (Fig. 1). Finally, gaming and drones combined.
Wong: What makes TobyRich.Vegas unique?
Ditschler: Today´s drone industry is driven by quadcopters and cameras. TobyRich.Vegas is a totally different approach. It is a plane with an amazing flight time of up to 30 minutes and you can play single and multiplayer games like dogfights, air racing, and stunts.
Wong: What types of technology did you embed into this product, such as GPS and Bluetooth, and how do they contribute to the product's features?
Ditschler: We integrated a miniaturized GPS module from OriginGPS for super precise air racing (Fig. 2): You can preset a racing track! We also use GPS for our Flight Management systems, which allows you to fly fully autonomously. GPS together with our great Bluetooth Smart technology enables us to offer a flight school for everyone. Our flight-school features let everyone become a real pilot. Step-by-step tutorials and real-time flight tips are a breakthrough for those people who have already had crashes with their helicopters and quadcopters. The big plus: Your plane will not fall from the sky if there is a problem. It will glide, maneuver, and the autopilot will take over control.
Wong: What sorts of technological challenges did you run into when developing this drone, and how did you overcome them?
Ditschler: We had to miniaturize everything. We had to design unbelievably small circuit boards with a lot of sensors onboard and a HD camera on top. How did we overcome all of the challenges? With a great team of passionate drone pilots, software guys, and hardware engineers.
Wong: Who do you expect to see buying this drone? Is this more for children or adults, or is it for people of all ages?
Ditschler: This is product for anyone, but we really see men between 23-45 years of age who are tech lovers or gamers gravitating to our drone.
Check out the TobyRich.Vegas in action, courtesy of Engineering TV:
Wong: What other products or enhancements to the TobyRich.Vegas does TobyRich have in mind for the future?
Ditschler: We want to integrate 4G/LTE for infinite range. Just imagine what is going to happen if you put tiny solar cells on top. This is not a dream. Technically, it is already possible today. We just have to do it!