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Monday, 24 August 2015

Using a small drone

Odd for my brother to give me a present for my birthday - we got out of that habit by silent yet mutual agreement ages ago - and even stranger that it should be a drone. The tiny mobile device charges through a USB cable so before going up to the hospital today I plugged it in and by the time I had come back it was ready to run. The small, paper user guide that comes with the toy says it needs 60 minutes to recharge. You also need two AAA-size batteries for the handset.

The instructions are a little light-on but I managed for a few seconds to get the thing to do what I wanted, which was to fly straight ahead at a low altitude. The thing quickly ended up under the couch, where as an additional benefit I found some old papers belonging to a friend, which I promptly threw into the recycling garbage box. The trouble with the drone is that it's not at all clear - and by "clear" I mean in the instant-by-instant sense that applies when you are trying to control the toy in mid-flight - which side of the thing is the front and which is the back. In addition, you have to get used to the fact that the left-hand toggle on the handset is the throttle and the right-hand toggle guides the drone forward or backward.

Once you have turned 'on' the handset you also have turn 'on' the drone on its body. Then gently throttle up and make sure the blue (forward) lights stay at the front of the craft as it slides aerially and hovers unstably in the air. It's a real skill. Once the thing is hovering at a settled altitude you can then do the hard thing, which is to guide it forward. Then gently and silently chide yourself as it veers disastrously out of control and ends up under the couch.

I can see the couch is going to get shifted quite a bit over the next few days. I doubt I'll have the patience to actually do any vacuuming underneath it - as I no doubt should, since it never usually gets shifted for the purpose - as I'll be quickly reapplying myself to the subtle arts of aerial navigation. Let's see if we can get the thing to fly into the kitchen and out the other side back into the living room ...

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