by Kellie Sigler
A low cost drone for aerial photography.
Funding for this project was suspended by Kickstarter on January 26, 2012.
See full bio
Use this space to cheer the creator along, ask questions, and talk to your fellow backers. Please remember to be respectful and considerate. Thanks!
Thanks for finding that Nick... The silence is deafening Kellie.
Well... turns out I was wrong.
Care to comment on this?
Was this project way-point capable? I kindof got the impression it was - in which case it might be illegal for export
I seem to recall somewhere that the DIYdrone lot were having to give away autopilot software under open-source licensing because selling it was "exporting" and therefore illegal.
Maybe you should re-start this project on indiegogo.
Though you would need to tell them why (exactly) kickstarter canceled it.
Failing that, if you don't have anyone else to do it, I can set up a wordpress site for you, to blog / collect donations etc. I'm here http://tangerineworks.com
The amount of money you were pulling down here was pretty phenomenal (I'm a bit of a student of kickstarter) - it's highly likely you could do something similar somewhere else... with added spin in the story that "this project succeeded despite being banned by kickstarter, and outside the aegis of an established crowd-funding site".
@Kellie: I have signed up at http://eye3.be to get updates. My questions are when do you estimate the project will be finished now that Kickstarter has cancelled the funding? Also, when the project is complete, will I be able to drive to Asheville (I live 2.5 hours away) to purchase/pick-up a RTF full drone package? I don't mind paying someone to put kit together and give initial training.
Could be an innocent mistake.
If not... I'd say that given Amazon's track-record of craven, reprehensible corporate-cowardice (see wikileaks), they've pulled the plug.
The reason for this is probably something like (and I'm theorising here) that the software that is used to fly these things is (according to byzantine, paranoid and illogical laws) technically a munition... so although (bizarrely) it can be given away, it can't be sold.
A bit like the equally bizarre "can't fly a drone if you're making money from it" law.
Or it could be an innocent mistake.
I don't think we live in The Age of Innocent Mistakes though. I think we live in the age of craven, reprehensible corporate-cowardice... and authoritarian over-reach. So that's my guess.
re: the continued project... I'm happy to submit a donation up front, sans-escrow.
@Jonathan We are definitely going ahead with the project. The copter has enormous potential and is very powerful. Please sign up at http://eye3.be and we'll send out an update once we figure out what just happened. :)
Thanks again for your support, it won't be long!
@Kellie: Thanks for the response. I am interested in purchasing a multi-copter for videography, FPV and drone software at a working man’s cost (Not Dragonfly). Can you or someone please direct me where I can purchase it? I am ready to buy now but can wait a bit if necessary. I was in the process of purchasing one from a guy who’s building them in Louisville, KY (XAircraft USA) but then I stumbled on your eye3 site.
OOPS, make that http://eye3.be
@Jonathan Nobody was actually charged. A pledge is just a promise to pay, and we receive no funds whatsoever when the project was canceled. We do not know why Kickstarter canceled the project or why they can't figure out how to BCC. We're going to continue the project on our own, and you can sign up for updates on our site: http://eye.be
Thanks so much for your support. K&G
There is nothing definite about ordering stuff on the internet =) Kickstarter itself is legit and I am sure the don't let just anyone come here and scam people out of their money.
@Justin: Thanks for the info. I'm obviously new to Kickstarter. So if someone pledges $2,500 to Kellie's Eye3 project, they will definitely get a drone package delivered?
No. You don't get charged until the "Days to go" reaches 0.
Just curious...for those who gave a substantial amount...do they just lose their money?
Ugh, just noticed the lack of BCC. Real professional.
Canceled, AND they didn't BCC on the notification email so we're going to get spammed I'm sure
Why was funding cancelled?
So what happened?
@Jonathan: No it is actually the opposite. It is currently illegal to operate any unmanned RC aircraft commercially no matter how small or how low you fly. Commercial use is banned in the national airspace (0 feet to 90,000 feet). It is super lame because the FAA has no distinction between a toy and a fully autonomous predator like drone. The new rules to ALLOW commercial use of small UAVs like this one wont be in effect until another 2 years (roughly). This excludes doing it as a hobby.
@Justin: So you’re saying there is no use in buying these because in 2 years they will be illegal (the drone aspect of it) otherwise a hexicopter with FPV and live video recording will be legal? I’m interested in purchasing a multi-rotor copter for videography but I don’t want to spend all that money and in 2 years it will be illegal to fly on. Thanks.
I love the idea of you taking the role of a system integrator to take the complication of part selection, assembly, and programming out of it!
For those looking for a "Mac" like item, good luck. You will never find such a thing in high-end RC. Tinkering and tuning is a must. The work Kellie and her husband are doing is as good as you will find.
One thing to note is that for at least 2 years, you will ONLY be able to do this as a hobby. I have been in talks with the FAA and as of yesterday here is the timeline we are looking at for this to no longer be illegal commercially.
This is the most recent email from the head of the UAV office at the FAA.
The reference to NPRM stands for Notice of Proposed Rule-Making. The FAA is looking to publish the small UAV NPRM in March or April of this year. On top of the timeline laid out below, we still don't know what the rules are actually going to be. There are rumors that they will go the way Australia has gone and require a full blown pilot's license to operate what is essentially a toy in a commercial capacity.
1. Typically how long does it take for a NPRM item to actually become
effective? Any rough estimate based on historical reference would be great
since anyone in this field is effectively grounded until this happens.
A. The FAA is very motivated to issue a final rule as soon as possible.
However, depending on the number and scope of comments received, the FAA
could take up to 16 months from the date of the close of the public comment
period to publish a final rule (it has been suggested by some industry
representatives that the FAA should expect tens of thousands of comments).
That being said, 16 months is the maximum allowed by Title 49 of the United
Stated Code section 106 paragraph f (3). When the FAA develops the final
rule language, it must also go through a review by the Office of the U.S.
Secretary of Transportation then afterwards by the U.S. Office of
Management and Budget, with each office having up to 90 days for its
review. This does not include the time it takes for the FAA to resolve
each of those office's concerns. The rulemaking process is, by law and
executive order, a very deliberative process designed to help ensure that
the public is not unduly burdened.
2. Is there any talk of implementing some kind of interim leniency or
waiver we can obtain in order for businesses to not be shut down or
A. At this time there are no plans to provide authorizations or waivers
for other than those already being allowed.
Please pardon me for being a newbie, but I have been watching this site and reading these threads for a while now. I am very interested in this project, ready to purchase an eye3 for videography. However, I can’t just drop $2,500 without having some receipt or proof that I will get the drone. Living in NC, I am willing to drive to Asheville to satisfy this is not a scam, get training, etc. Also, is it possible to buy the drone RTF? Please advise. Thanks in advance!
Thanks Kellie. I agree that making an open source project more popular is indeed contributing to it's development.
@david That's really cool about you working at the aviation museum...awesome!
@Scott Hi! Yes there will be videos and a lot more info coming up. Keep in mind this is a project in development - which is what Kickstarter is all about - but we've done substantive work on ALL aspects of robotic flight, have tested the components and we are VERY confident in the platform. We are now awaiting the revised airframe which we expect soon (Chinese New Year delay) which we will document (for the guides) and build as the proof of concept (for the umm proof). :) Thanks very much!
Kellie Sigler, It is great to see you responding to folks' inquiries here in a timely manner as it helps build confidence in this project.
Are you folks planning on putting some video of an eye3 example online prior to Feb. 23rd? It does strike one as a bit odd to not see solid evidence of at least one working prototype eye3 here on the project. A video highlighting the key capabilities of a fully functional eye3 machine would be ideal.
@marc Oops, you said arducopter! Though the sentiments are the same! Great people, great work.
@marc We are not developers for APM, we just bug the developers of APM. ;p
We are however huge fans of APM and the devs; it is absolutely brilliant. We hope that by using and promoting APM in our projects - and helping our patrons utilize APM - we will in fact be making a contribution to the project. We'd also love to contribute by keeping public any developments we undertake for eye3 related to APM, naturally!
Kellie/Grayson, do you contribute to the arducopter project?
@Eric. I have never met Kellie or her family personally. I have E-mailed them from time to time and know of them through facebook (we are friends on facebook). I learned of the sigler's years ago when I stumbled across their DIY projector stuff, probably through a link on slashdot or digg or some tech-geek site . I had considered making one (of the projectors), but not being much a of a TV/couch potato I passed it up. I do have an open order for one of their CNC bots, which i know are temporarily delayed (that's fine, I can live with that, as I know it'll be top notch when it arrives), and I am a contributor on the forums (I like to think of myself as the voice of reason when needed), as CNC stuff is something I've wanted to learn and the ability to do some home machining without a gigantic and expensive machine shop is appealing, esp since I don't have ready access to shop space. I am a contributor to this project because I frankly think it's cool as hell, and I've been wanting to dive into the field of drone's, RC flight and photography. I'm an aviation buff and regularly volunteer at a nearby aviation museum (http://1941hag.org) every weekend.
Amateur RC is allowed below 400ft, however it is most likely limited to airspace NOT around control-tower'd airports for pretty obvious reasons. I'll have to google around for the exact specifics..
Here is the FAA section concerning Unmanned Aircraft Systems:
@ chris - The commercial operation of unmanned aerial v. ehicles (including RC) is prohibited by the FAA within the national airspace. Hobby use is fine, but if you profit or intend to profit it is commercial use. Any research into the subject will back me up.
@Eric, Any robot is a just a 'collection of parts' - and it is unwise to trivialize just how CRITICAL parts selection is. The RC market is flooded with cheap junk that no one will warranty, has no instructions and catches on fire in the air. Props, motors and ESCs have to be carefully matched to the loads, overspecified and be of excellent quality. Just getting to that point would require many crashes, testing of dozens of components for longevity under load and a healthy dose of wisdom.
How many times do you want to build this thing?
And we've barely scratched the surface of getting to a bot that actually works (wait til you try to stabilize it LOL)
We needed a somewhat standardized airframe to provide off-the-shelf replacement parts, and some resellers kit this GOOD hexa CF airframe with a bunch of junk and put a $500-700 price on it. Aside from being dangerously under spec'd and composed of China's cheapest stuff, where's the rest of it? Batteries, charger, busboards, IMU, Liposafe bags, BEC etc, ALL of which must be carefully chosen, tested, overspec'd AND warranteed. The frame's the only thing worth having in those kits, it's pretty good, but we are using a custom version of the frame to strengthen critical areas so your heavy cam doesn't go splat on a rough landing. Those mods are made for the eye3 frame, making it unique and requiring a manufacturer to produce.
As for the assembly, it's really easy. That we can make it easy should not be underestimated because the DIY way is typically anything BUT easy. Again we had added many things to make assembly as plugnplay as possible which is significant. The only soldering required is to solder the ESC power leads to the busboard, a 10 minute job. You do also need to know how to use a screwdriver and follow the incredibly detailed yet simple hook up instructions (we are producing now). From other projects, we have learned that shipping kits is simply much more logical than assembled machines (box full of broken pieces), and especially so when the machine is as EASY to assemble as the eye3.
Bottom line; eye3 works - and there's a reason anything else with its payload capacity is $10k+. Their parts aren't any better, but they have the experience to make it work and THAT typically costs a premium. A closer evaluation of our offering will show what an extrodinary value eye3 actually is.
Jeb - Would welcome an explanation of how commercial use of this product would be considered illegal in the U.S.
David - Appreciate your thoughtful comments and input to this discussion. I think your points are well made and valid. That said, I get the impression from some of the forums over at Lumen Labs that you may know the Siglers personally. Welcome full disclosure on that front so everyone can make a more informed assessment of the various viewpoints represented below.
Kellie - I recognize you're being inundated with mail. I had asked privately for more examples of your and your husbands work. Doing a little of my own research, I came across Lumen Labs. I ultimately decided to back this project despite some of what I found on the forums there. Appreciate your current situation, and I wish you and your husband all the best. That said, as someone putting my trust and money behind this project, I'd welcome your comments on how the eye3 project relates to your work with Lumen Labs and why backers can be confident in an on time delivery of the kits despite potentially competing demands placed on you by the existing company. Very pleased with the success of this project, and I look forward to receiving my own eye3.
It should be noted that for the foreseeable future, using this for ANY commercial purposes is strictly ILLEGAL winthin the U.S. Meaning that if you make money, you are breaking the law.
While I respect Kellie's attempt to start a business, using Kickstarter to mitigate the risk involved goes against what Kickstarter should be. Not informing people of just how difficult it can be to get one of these flying properly (even with experience and help) is downright unethical.
Also, having access to both a Draganfly, and an APM powered system, the former is a MUCH more stable system.
Sorry to barge in on this Thread but i was hesitant about going all in. But i've been researching about dones now for two days and if Kellie and her team can deliver what they claim they can they have my full support DYI or not.
Some of the best ideas and concepts come from over-engineering and not from out of the box.
So i'm keeping my full pledge, but i'm hoping for more details on the actual full project (pictures, detialed specs, FAQ)
Also i guess there is a working prototype so would it be possible to view video's, pictures?
@Kellie - I suppose what I'd like to understand before I decided whether to increase my backing to the $2500 level or not is; which components have you secured manufacturing contracts for?
This project actually did get me excited about aerial photography, thank you, but it's a lot of money to commit without understanding what I'm backing. I'm a developer also, and by nature I'm inquisitive, and I don't understand what spares or services are included.
When I initially commented about this project, I was hoping for a response like, sure there are off the shelf kits you can buy, but we invented a new camera mount to reduce vibration or an enclosure to protect your DSLR from a 100 foot drop. Instead, what I'm hearing is that you're pre-selecting all the best parts for me so I can build my own thing.
This is NOT the Apple ("Mac") model or even a Dell model. This is the local computer store kit which isn't user friendly and requires normal people to know a geek for even the basic. My request is that you reconsider and offer a solution which doesn't require "basic soldering skills".
@Alexander THANK YOU!
@Eric - We intend to provide a product and service that is beyond a "good blog". If someone wants to source their own parts and put together their own drone there are resources out there for them to do that. Our intention is to provide a kit so that someone can just buy it in one place and put it together and have it work. Help and support will be more useful when it is based on known and inspected parts rather than what someone "bought on the web" (Kind of like Macs that use a standardized hardware model rather than Windows which tries to work with everything under the sun)
Our product is for people who want to USE the drone more than they want the experience of building, tweaking etc. There are many people who would prefer to pay a little more and have the security of known hardware and support rather than spend lots of time sourcing parts and trying to figure out how to put it together with no instructions or warranty. You may not be one of those people... and that's ok. We appreciate the contribution you did make. :)
Really exciting project. Good luck!
I see their product as a way to lower the barrier of entry to those who may not have the time, expertise and energy to learn it all from the ground up. @Eric, the kits you mention are underpowered. The average joe would have no idea that hte ESC's are being run at their limit and frankly would be upset and pissed when the unit's ESC's went up in flames and the bot fell out of the sky (not to mention any other collateral damage). What Kellie and 'crew have done is done all the hard work FOR YOU, learned what works, what doesn't and distilled down all the technobabble into something usable by the non-drone expert. Thus they overengineered the unit to be in a class of its own, utilizing the best of breed of what's available, and packaging it together, and providing all the needed components to offer a turnkey solution. That has costs to it, and support/warrantee, etc are all tangible costs that need to be considered. Everyone has a right to try and make money, and if they have a
"Good Product" people will value that, and line up for them, as frankly many people don't have the time to do all the learning, experimentation, from the ground up (I know I don't which is why i contributed to this idea), they just want to spend a bit more for something already debugged and proven up front, in order to get going fast.
@Kellie Thank you for your response!
It's normal practice for individuals to offer the detailed sourcing and assembly information on a website like instructables or youtube, and not start a Kickstarter technology project.
In my opinion it appears underhanded to mention that you and your husband have been working to perfect drones and then offer a kit, which requires assembly, and is based on parts available on the web.
I'm not trying to spam your project page, I just question if that what you are offering is in the spirit of a good Kickstarter project, where money is being raised to build a business or a support a cause that couldn't be replaced by a good blog.
@Eric The devil's in the details - that kit would be very bad for AP (and frightening). Very underpowered. The 12a ESCs alone should have tipped you off. Running at full capacity you may get a few lbs of thrust, but nobody should ever run an ESC at capacity. There's a reason eye3 uses high quality 50a ESCs paired with high quality 350w motors. To boot, your (spam link?) kit is not that cheap - and where's the rest of the stuff? With eye3, you have nothing else to buy, no-questions-asked parts warranty, extremely detailed guides in English, aftercare and an excellent product from people who actually care about this stuff. Cheers :)
These comments are troubling: http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/apm-powered-hexacopter-project-on-kickstarter
It appears that I can put this entire project together using a kit from Good Luck Buy and an APM from DIY drones
Please help me understand what value you're adding.
@Dan, You could fly it with only 4 channels but you couldn't switch modes, control the cam, gimbal etc. I'd use 6ch at the minimum, and THANKS BIGTIME!!!
@Charles Tx = transmitter and RX = receiver and yep that's the 'remote control radio system'. TxRx is the common terminology in RC, but I'll make a FAQ update to clarify. Thank you!!
This project is exactly what I need.
That said, I'm probably going to buy the Parrot AR 2.0
I like that the drone can be controlled by any WiFi device, and that it has Android control software available. Also, I like that I can see what the drone see's via on-board cam.
I like that they seem to have built in 'cam moment concepts' such as 'pan from this position to this position' or 'track from here to here'.
Wishing you good fortune with this project.
Can you explain more about TX/RX? I assume that refers to the remote control but why not just say remote control?
Congrats! What would the minimum Tx be for this rig? I assume any full-house control heli rig would be okay? Anyone?