A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
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What is Droiko?
Droiko is a high technology gaming micro drone. There are many drones out there that you can fly around, but with Droiko you get to PLAY GAMES, single player or multiplayer. These games include laser combats, drone racing, challenges, and many more games like capture the flag or defend your base. Some of the games are only possible thanks to Droiko's main accessory: Checkpoints. These little boxes are used to define special areas during gaming, for example: control points for your customized racing track or your base where you can land to refill simulated ammunition. Droiko can be flown using our free App in your smartphone or using any standard RC transmitter, and a beginner mode can be selected so anyone can fly it.
Each Droiko features a low power laser pointer combined with an infrared marker, used as the main weapon in drone combats. The laser pointer helps you aim while the infrared marker creates a large beam to hit other Droikos. It also features several infrared detectors in order to automatically detect when it has been hit by another Droiko. Droiko also features simulated proximity weapons, this means it can emit a short range radio-frequency signal that "hits" nearby Droikos. Depending on the battle mode you are playing, Droiko will react in a different way once it is hit. For example: it can simulate damages, make control harder, count points or fall down to the ground while turning, just like real helicopters. Checkpoints are optional for drone combats, but they surely add variety and fun to the battles. They can be used to define repair zones or a hard to reach area where you get upgraded weapons, just to list a few examples. Checkpoints can also be used as laser targets, enabling single player battle training.
Create you own racing track and race your friends to win the fastest Droiko racing pilot title, or practice by yourself to improve your flying. You can select from different racing rules, and even play "Mario Kart" style drone races enabling Droiko weapons. Don't be afraid to play indoor racing, any room is suitable, because Droiko propellers are totally safe, it will survive crashes and you won't break anything. Checkpoints are optional for drone racing, but highly recommended. You can use them to define the control points of your racing track, and they will automatically time your laps, check that no player is skipping any control point and announce the winner. If you want they can also be used to pick up weapons mid race, just like Mario Kart. Checkpoints are also very useful when playing single player races versus the timer.
More Drone Gaming
Apart from drone racing and drone battles, you will be able to play many other games and challenges with Droiko, both single player and multiplayer. Although some games are playable without Checkpoints, this is the part where they stand out the most, enabling endless gaming possibilities. Some examples of games that can be played without Checkpoints include: Chasing, Survival and Altitude Challenge. In Chasing game a Droiko has to fly away from another Droiko following him, automatically detecting when they are close enough or not. In Survival game one or several Droikos have to stay up in the air the longest time possible, while hard piloting conditions are simulated, for example changing wind or inverted controls. The Altitude Challenge is an outdoor hard to win challenge, the App will tell you a pattern of altitudes (1-3-5-1 meters for example) and you must try to visually fly Droiko to those altitudes in the shortest time possible. Checkpoints enable much more complex games, like for example Capture the Flag, Base Defend, Rescue Challenge or Sumo Fight. In Capture the Flag, two or more Droikos have to capture a central Checkpoint and go back to their base, while avoiding the enemy weapons. In Base Defend, a Droiko has to defend its Checkpoint defined base from one or more enemy Droikos that try to destroy it. Rescue Challenge is a simulated rescue mission. You will have to fly several trips from a mountain (defined by a Checkpoint) to a hospital (defined by another Checkpoint) in order to rescue all the people in danger, in the shortest time. Sumo Fight is a simple battle variation game, where you have to take down your enemy without leaving a defined small area, simulating a sumo ring. You can also customize each game rules and create your own. We will keep developing new games and try to implement the new ideas backers come up with.
Ready to use gaming drone, just take it out of the box and start playing. No assembly no soldering required.
Laser + IR marker and proximity weapons.
Double coaxial propellers for higher stability and longer flight times.
Swashplate mechanism to allow for movements in every direction.
Fly it using your smartphone or any standard RC transmitter (using a bridge Checkpoint).
Fly it indoors or outdoors (if there is no wind).
High end sensors for higher stability, automatic altitude and easier flying.
Almost unbreakable, very easy and cheap to replace damaged parts in case of extreme crashes.
High performance, swappable battery for 12+ minutes of flight time with a single charge and unlimited gaming changing batteries.
Light weight (<50 grams) so it can be flown anywhere and does not need FAA registration.
Fully safe propellers for kids, pets and objects.
Checkpoints to define special areas in games.
Laser battles, drone racing and many other games.
Fully open source product, both hardware and software.
Learning platform for drone piloting, electronics and coding.
Customizable, hackable and expandable.
You can control Droiko from your smartphone using our free Droiko App, available for Android 4.3+ and iOS 5+ devices. The Droiko App is used to connect to Droiko, change its configuration, start new games, fly it, show relevant game info, and also to update Droiko's and Checkpoints' firmware. It is very flexible: you can customize game rules, select piloting difficulty and change control modes. You can decide if you prefer to pilot it using your fingers on the screen, or maybe prefer to control it turning and tilting the phone, or a combination of both methods. You can also select from different piloting difficulties depending on your experience and ability to fly drones, from very automated flying with automatic altitude and limited speed, to manual mode for expert pilots. Control range depends on the smartphone used, but on our tests 30-50 meters is no problem, and it already becomes quite difficult to see Droiko at those distances. We wanted to keep Droiko as affordable as possible, and as light as possible, so there is no on-board camera. Droiko is always piloted in visual line of sight. Droiko can also be controlled using any standard RC transmitter, but a Checkpoint is needed as communication bridge. Just connect your RC receiver to the Checkpoint expansion port, no extra batteries needed because the Checkpoint will power up your receiver. Using this control option range increases up to 100 meters or more. A dedicated Droiko Gamepad will be available in the future, check the Stretch Goals section.
Droiko Technical Specs
Double coaxial 19 cm diameter propeller with stabilizer bar.
Servo actuated swashplate mechanism.
Double high power, high efficiency DC geared motors.
Droiko is and will always be a fully open source product, both hardware and software. As soon as the project is succesfully funded, everything design related will be publicly available. The full code, the electronics schematic and board layout, and the 3D models. We want it this way in order to allow people to get involved with the project, learn from it or modify/improve/expand it. We think this is a great oportunity for us to teach electronics, robotics and coding related to drones, so we plan to create a wiki section in our website with tutorials, design decisions, coding examples, how to hack it, etc. Droiko and its Checkpoints can be easily reprogrammed, using Bluetooth or external ARM programmers to load new code, make changes or debug it. The Droiko App uses Bluetooth to wirelessly update Droiko's and Checkpoints' firmware, so you will be able to get new features and games easily. Thanks to the expansion port, Checkpoints are a perfect platform for learning, creating addons or even using them for other projects.We will provide the coding environment (based on Eclipse) and the software tools needed to reprogram Droiko and its Checkpoints. We are also working hard in order to achieve Arduino, mBed and Microbit compatibility, among others. Apart from electronics and coding matters, we also think Droiko is a perfect and cheap platform to learn how to pilot larger, more dangerous and more expensive drones. Let your kids or friends get used piloting Droiko with your RC transmitter before you let them try your expensive drones.
Droiko In The Near Future
We have developed Droiko to be a future proof gaming platform, and we will love to keep developing and improving it in the future. Creating new games, new addons, adding new features, while also providing support to customers. We want to create a large open community around it, where everyone has the chance to show their ideas and opinions, propose new games, and together make of it the ultimate drone gaming platform. Our future long term goal is to put Droiko in schools and universities, so they can learn, play and compete at the same time; as well as creating community managed Droiko competitions all around the world.
In case you want to buy extra Droikos, or Checkpoints or accessories, just add to your pledge the amount shown below. In case you add too many extra stuff, extra shipping charges may be applicable, we will contact you directly in those cases.
If we pass our funding goal of 50k euros, we will add extra benefits for backers and the project. Possible stretch goals are listed below. We will give more info about this in the future.
Features Under Development
We are already in the 4th iteration of our Droiko prototipes, they fly great and are 100% fully functional, but we are still doing some improvements for the final production version. We want to be very clear about our development state and improvements we are still working on.
Laser + IR Marker Our actual prototypes have low power divergent real laser markers and laser detectors, but for the final version we are changing the markers to a combined solution, using a low power laser pointer plus an infrared led marker, and IR receivers. We are doing this change for several reasons: to make laser totally safe, to ease laser certification, to increase visibility of the aiming point, to reduce optic lenses and size of laser reducing cost and weight, and to open a new communication channel for future addons: IR communication.
Propellers Redesign Rigth now propellers are the weaker part of Droiko and the only one that may break in some crashes. We want to improve this so we are redoing the propeller design from scratch. We are trying to use foldable propellers that will fold instead of breaking when impacted, and we are also using stronger material with reinforced geometry. We are also taking advantage of this occasion in order to come up with a higher efficiency propeller design.
Landing Skids Redesign Actual landing skids are fine, but we would like to redesign them in order to swap batteries easier and to increase landing stability.
RGB Led Actual prototipes already have a led, but it is not visible from the outside once the chassis is mounted, so we are changing it for a higher power RGB led and changing its position so it is clearly visible when flying. This RGB led will be used in games as a visual aid for gaming notifications and will also enable gaming in darker scenarios.
Advanced Smart Software Features We are still developing and testing some secondary software features and adding some interesting new ones. This includes: differential heigth control using Checkpoints measure, safety protocols with safe controlled landing when Droiko goes out of control range, and impact detection feature in order to turn off motors and avoid damages.
Complex Droiko Games Rigth now battles and racing game modes are fully functional, but more complex games like Capture the Flag, Base Defend and challenges are still being developed and tested.
Smartphone Droiko App We do have a fully functional App that we use to change game modes and fly Droiko, but it is quite ugly. We are hiring an expert app developer in order to make it nicer, more user friendly and to add some extra features.
We have been developing Droiko for the last 2 years, full time and non-stop. We have walked a long road to get here, but there is still a long way to go in the future. This is our time planning for the following months.
Use of Funds
In order to make Droiko as affordable as possible, we have kept costs as low as possible. In the following graph you can see where the funding received is going to be used, of course this is an approximation, we will update it once the Kickstarter campaign is reaching its end.
About Droiko and Cactus Robotics
When you back Droiko you are not only buying some drones or showing your support for a change in the industry of gaming drones, you are helping us create a company and job positions. We are a very small spanish startup with many innovative ideas related to drones, robotics and many other fields. We developed Droiko from the ground with our own funding and we decided to do everything by ouserlves in order to depend as little as possible on external factors, facing many problems along the way but learning form each one of them. You can imagine we had very limited funds, and many difficult decisions were taken in order to waste as little as possible, we were confident we had to expend almost everything in product development and production optimization, and that's what we did. We made it here, and that is already a success for us, but now we need extra funding to take Droiko to mass production and create a sustainable product that we can improve and support in the following years, and that's why we are on Kickstarter. We are very open about Droiko, and we have also been backers, please ask us any question you may have, we will be happy to answer it.
Any support is much appreciated and please help us sharing this campaign with your family, friends, coworkers... and in your social media. Thank you very much!
Contact us by email or write your questions and feedback at the Kickstarter comments section. Thank you.
Risks and challenges
Here we describe the main risks of the project, not the risks of using the product, which are almost none.
Every new project faces risks. Risks are greater when it is an innovative hardware project, like Droiko, just because there are so many tasks to coordinate, so many people involved and even the silliest and smallest failure can delay the project a lot.
As we have already mentioned, we have developed Droiko entirely by ourselves, so we know very well every aspect of the product, from electronics design, to firmware coding and the smartphone APP. This gives us confidence to solve the problems fast and in the best way possible. Small problems will arise, that's for sure, but we have the preparation and knowledge to reduce their impact as much as possible.
The highest risk is fabrication. Although we plan to use the same manufacturers we used with our prototypes and everything is clearly understood and well done so far, delays can still happen. For example when sourcing the electronic components or if any plastic part comes out worse than expected so we have to repeat it. Injection molding is complex.
The second highest risk is certification. We are using precertified RF hardware, which is the hardest part of certification, so we should be safe, but we won't know until we pass certification. Laser pointer is also a matter of concern for certification. In order to reduce this risk impact as much as possible, we will manufacture a small batch for certification before going to full production.
Another minor risk of delays is the development of features and improvements still in progress. We talked about this in details in its own section above, please take a look for extra info.
We have been backers and we have seen many projects fail their shipping calendar. That's why we have such a late fulfillment date, and why we have planned our calendar with lots of margin, we have even added a full backup month. You can check our planing in its own section above.