Drones — how I learned to stop worrying and love my autonomous overlords | Romeo Espana | TEDxUTA



put her down right there even guys I have the honor being our last speaker solving this quick my talk drones how I learned to stop worrying and love my autonomous overlords I'm a firm believer that all journeys worth taking start with a problem and in 2011 Texas had a big problem most of our state was on fire fires raged it was quite deadly Milly actually I think was billions in dollars of property damage was made and unfortunately some lives were lost the fires were so bad you could actually see them from space burning across top left corner right next to that cloud is actually Dallas so me being a young engineer I'm thinking ah I can solve this all week we have this problem all of these firefighters didn't have the information they needed to get out of the way of these fires constantly huge amounts of manpower needed just to fight little brush fires because they could change a brush fire can travel 40 miles per hour and good wind so I got to work cue the music this is where I started this is my first quote-unquote RC airplane it was supposed to be simple right I buy an RC airplane off the shelf go put a camera on it why anyone can do it so nature is a cruel instructor and she punishes hubris most harshly so cute music again build new body and back and forward and back then I started thinking maybe I'm not really good at this I can't watch a camera fly a plane pay attention to someone next to me and if I can't do this sitting in the middle of a public park in calm conditions how could I ever hope to give this to a firefighter or to EMTs or do anything with it I need to take the load off of me one online started simple had small I mean many of you've heard of the Arduino development board started plugging things in kind of went back here a couple times but finally finally I start going online started finding there are other people just like me other people who are having the same problems or hitting the same issues but they weren't calling with them Foam planes they weren't calling they weren't in the RC groups they're under the new drones but I'd heard of them before but it was always these big giant evil things that the government or someone else had and one of the biggest things before I go on I should kind of explain well what's a drone it's this kind of mysterious thing it's got all this weird technology and all this weird science and only really smart people can use them but if I'm completely honest with you 90% of you have the makings of a drone in your pocket the same sensors that allow my screen that's hilt my same GPS the exact same chip that tells me where I am the magnetometer inside that tells me I'm lost this is where North is which doesn't help but lets me know you take these same sensors and because of that phone revolution you're now starting to see this revolution this board I'm holding in my hand for probably less than the cost of most of your textbooks about a hundred and fifty dollars on board can detect tilt roll man has a magnetometer to detect what direction it's facing even has a pressure sensor to let you know how high you are and with a chief little GPS unit I thought all that I need to automate anything this board can be programmed one day I was flying planes next I go through the forms and these crazy engineers are flying these things with six seven eight rotors this thing doesn't care this is amazing I can take any platform I want give it a little bit of intelligence and all of a sudden I'm a mad scientist I'm a drone user ah you know my minions fly there's some hubris to be learned here but still oh I mean this is cool but what can you do with it well I be excited I mean the planes have been around for forever and the technology as far as drones the concepts been around for a while but only just now is it getting cheap enough that we can all do it this is what I do with them actually they build the ones that do this kind of stuff a very good friend of mine whose photographer pane just like let's put a camera on it let's put a camera on it and it does some gorgeous stuff but it's not the only thing you can do and there are a million there are a million one ideas out there I want to see what people can do with them so we started this organization auntie Doug North Texas down user group it's now part of the National shown you screw five countries about 4,000 members and nine months people are doing this people want to do this people have each each of them have an individual idea of what they want to see with this technology the journal users groups all over the country are putting into classes these people have never touched RC aircraft before this is the first time the gentleman in that photo at the very end Don Young retired engineer loves hunting for meteorites carries around this 80 pound magnetometer help find them you can't do it the will is there but the body it's it's failing all of a sudden now he has technology to take that same magnetometer put it onto a helicopter and now it flies in grid patterns for him that's relabeling for him and that still repeats again and again and again anyone can do it it's cheap it's inexpensive there are groups out there getting together this is a do-it-yourself search-and-rescue group that came together and decided hey I really want to help but look for people if they're lost why can't I eight teams came together one of them from UT I actually from here as is UAB labs they went out they self coordinated they broke up in the teens missing persons were placed out body parts tents whole scenarios coming up and the teams competed hard each one of them picking up new skills working to work together this is just one facet of this and I just see so much energy behind it I want you guys to know that this exists I want you guys to go out there if you have an idea these things extend our reach it doesn't just have to fly this same board can be on any kind of ground rover it can power underwater vehicle whatever you want to add intelligence to you can and there are other people I guarantee you who are doing the same thing so I'm just here to tell you about it there's a national drone users group and go onto the network see if there's one local if there's not see if you want to start one I bet you other people in your city want to if you want to pick up one of these boards there are many like it there's a community of people behind this board of about 40,000 people at DIY drones I guarantee you if you've had an error they've probably hit it too and then finally go to your local maker spaces I am proud to be a member of the Dallas makerspace I also happen to run the aerospace committee so kind of Tooting my own horn here one final thing if you can't think of an idea a cost there are people out there looking for people conservation drones org you may have heard of it from previous talk they're using these unmanned systems less than the cost of a medium sized laptop and now they're able to control illegal logging track animal movements there's an organization out in Alaska called Sky Watch they use these things to keep an eye on environmental disasters on pit mining making sure checking for violate people are people are taking the tools and applying the things they most care about but here's a little extra incentive the National John userscript movement has come out with the drones social innovation award up to the end of July you build the drone under $3,000 film it little 10-minute video a little excuse me three-minute video showing what you did why it matters and what you changed in the world you make the biggest social impact with your drone ten thousand dollars for you here the resources I was talking about you can go up here auntie Doug national junior descript movement and DIY drone so calm and Dallas makerspace if you'd like to visit a local makerspace now if you don't mind time is short and I really want to fly now here's one of the fun things when you're in front of a live audience is you have to do a technical demo so let's hope this girl listens if I built her right she should so normally I have GPS they built this building a little too well so I can't exactly do a lot of the demos I have outdoors with a GPS lock I could actually grabbed her by her leg and dragged her across the parking lot and the entire time she would bite me as soon as I let her go she'd come home and I'm in a tight area so the winds pushing her around but even without control she's happy as can be and that's without any GPS lock just just a little bit of drift in the air currents imagine what I could do if I had that much carbon fiber but as impressive as this is and it's pretty cool she's just a bus she doesn't have anything on her she's intelligent enough to listen to my Ramon because I don't have my computer on for me this is for you you want to do research you want to carry you want to see something over you know ten feet above you do it imagine your application your dream take it to the sky it's out there for you it's not even expensive thank you very much you

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Drones: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Autonomous Overlords. All Journeys worth taking start with a problem. Learn about technology created to make flying vehicles possible and easier to use. What is the technology in place for anyone to become a drone user.

Romeo España, an active member of the Dallas Makerspace, is a hardware engineer at Dialexa, a co-founder and organizer at North Texas Drone User Group and an engineering consultant at Ascension. He currently focuses on the development, construction, and deployment of low cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicle platforms for civilian applications. His specialties include systems integration, advanced electronics repair and design, hardware development, unmanned robotics, remote telemetry systems, and remote systems training.

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