This project's funding goal was not reached on November 13, 2012.
This project's funding goal was not reached on November 13, 2012.
Our tilt-to-fly Mimix controller is so simple that flying becomes second nature. Now you can do other fun things with your friends like playing real-life, multi-player aerial games – indoors or out. Try doing this with any other palm-sized quadcopter!
Each NanoQ copter is equipped with an infrared (IR) “photon cannon” and an IR sensor pod. With a pull of the trigger, you unleash a photon burst at your opponent. If you hit their sensor pod you score.
Our first game will be multi-team dogfighting. You can select your team through the Mimix controller. The LEDs then display your team colors on both the NanoQ and the Mimix.
Multi-team Dogfighting Game Play
Multi-team dogfighting is just the beginning. We’re developing even more games with ground targets that react with lights and sound when they’re hit. Advanced versions of the ground targets will include a digital radio so any number of targets can communicate together. In addition, proximity detectors can turn the ground targets into reloading stations, capture points, race pylons, and more. We want Kickstarter’s suggestions on what you would like to see for future games.
We designed Mimix from the ground up to provide an intuitive, exciting experience. No more two-handed flying. Tilt the Mimix controller forward, back, left, or right and the NanoQ copter responds just like you think it should; you feel engaged and in control.
Based on US Air Force Human Factors data for aircraft controls, the Mimix controller has an ergonomic design that was made for your hand, big or small. By using the latest sensors, radios, and processors, Mimix puts you in command with precise, crisp control.
In the Kickstarter video, the flying scenes show our 1st-generation Mimix prototype (the 3D printer had orange plastic in it that day). The final scene in the video shows our 2nd-gen Mimix prototype with its sleek ergonomic design that is hot off the 3D printer, sanded and painted (what looks to be a wire coming from the controller is actually a stand – Mimix is wireless).
What good is a controller with nothing to fly? Our NanoQ copter is the perfect match for the tilt-based Mimix controller. The NanoQ can move in any direction at any time, not just forward and backwards like some helicopters.
To increase efficiency, we took the traditional quad-rotor design and flipped it upside-down. This also means the props don’t run into the ceiling and the motors don’t hit the floor. Using high-speed electronic stabilization, the craft automatically adjusts 400 times per second to quickly react to your commands. Thanks to mass production of 3-axis gyros and accelerometers, we can now bring you an affordable product with this state-of-the-art high-speed electronic stabilization.
The NanoQ copter is designed to fly in small indoor areas, but powerful enough to fly outdoors. Due to the rugged, lightweight construction, and only 4 moving parts, the NanoQ is more durable than current helicopter models. A removable “snap on” ring protects the props when flying indoors. The end result – a design that is both more durable and more fun!
Disappointed by cheap RC helicopters at the store?
So were we! They either broke or we got bored. Here's what sets our products apart:
The combination of these features gives you hours of fun...
A Better Flight Experience
The NanoQ was designed for easy flight right out of the box. The electronic stabilization system keeps the craft upright automatically. It ships in “Beginner Mode” to limit the craft’s speed and dynamics while you learn. When you’re ready, switch to advanced mode and the NanoQ will really show you what it can do.
By using digital radios to fly the NanoQ and IR signals for game play, we can achieve crisp flight control and accurate game response at the same time. This also allows us to simultaneously fly several NanoQs in the same space. This technology, together with team color selection on both the craft and controller, enables true multi-player team gaming.
Simply put, the NanoQ copter mimics the motion of the Mimix controller. We make this happen by sampling sensors in the controller that determine its orientation and sending those signals to the craft. The NanoQ copter uses an advanced data fusion algorithm to estimate its attitude compared to the signals from the Mimix controller. Then, the control system in the NanoQ copter sends high-rate adjustments to the four propellers to make the copter mimic your movements. Thrust and yaw are controlled through the top hat on the Mimix controller.
The NanoQ copter:
The Mimix controller:
The NanoQ uses an open communications protocol. Connect your computer up to the Mimix through the USB port or optional USB RF dongle and you will be able to communicate wirelessly with the NanoQ to:
You can even connect your own electronics payload, like an Arduino, camera, or homebrewed project to the auxiliary serial (UART + power) port on the NanoQ.
There will be a developer’s forum on our website where everyone can share in all your achievements. Let everyone see what you can do!
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, QFO Labs is a small team of people dedicated to bringing high-tech, innovative new products to market. Our skills include Electrical Engineering, Software Development, Estimation and Control Systems, Material Science, Product Management, and Intellectual Property Management. Our team first met through a New Product Development course at the University of Minnesota in 2007. We have a broad range of experience in areas such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Manufacturing Process Improvement, Medical Device Design, and even running a science museum.
This product is just the beginning. Over time we plan to introduce a series of products for real-life 3D gaming. Beyond gaming, our team has many more ideas about what to do with the technology behind the Mimix and NanoQ.
We’ve been developing and perfecting our remote control quadcopters for more than 5 years. The Mimix controller and NanoQ copter that you see in the video and pictures are real, working prototypes. We are finishing the Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA) and will soon be releasing both Mimix and NanoQ to manufacturing. We have developed relationships with vendors and obtained quotes for production quantities of our electronic components. Currently, we are obtaining quotes for the electronic assembly of the PCBs, the tooling for injection molding and vacuum forming, and the final assembly and packaging of our products. We are planning on final assembly and testing in North America, which will allow us to be closer to and more involved with the process.
With your support, we can get Mimix and NanoQ off the ground and into your hands, literally. While we're close to entering production, your contribution will let us bring this product to market.
Here’s a breakdown of what we will use the $230,000 for:
Our first scheduled ship date is March of 2013, which is based on our current estimates for manufacturing using the longest lead times for certain components. In the meantime, we will keep you updated on our progress and look forward to your input and suggestions.
The Standard Package:
The Premium Package:
The Hacker Package:
Tens of thousands of wonderful Kickstarters pledge millions of dollars to projects they are passionate about. The most important things to know are:
We’d like to thank some of the people who have helped during our development. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to make this product nearly as cool.
With more than 50 years of combined experience starting and growing successful companies, we recognize there will always be risks that can impact our schedule throughout the development, manufacturing and distribution of this project.
The products shown in video and pictures are real, working prototypes. The mechanical structures were created using 3D printers, but our products have been designed to be production molded and easily assembled in large quantities. We have perfected the mechanics, electronics, and software over two years of full time development and many, many iterations. All of our components have been selected and sourced (i.e. motors, electronics, batteries, etc.).
To take advantage of a new component from one of our suppliers, Nordic Semiconductor, we are swapping out the existing radio in our current design. While this increases the risk to our schedule, we think the increased range and decreased latency is well worth the small possibility of some delay. To minimize this risk and ensure that we can pass FCC Certification without issue, we are working closely with the engineers at Nordic Semiconductor. Other than that, all of our electronics and mechanical designs for the copter and controller are complete.
Our friends, families, and investors have carried us so far. We think our working prototypes are pretty impressive. But we need your support to help fund the production tooling, quantity component orders and government certifications that we need to get to full production levels. Without your support this project simply won't happen.
Tooling for molds and longest lead time components will be put on order in November; certifications (UL, CE, FCC, etc.) will begin in December; and production should begin in January. We are very confident that we can deliver at least 5000 units per month starting in March. However, to ensure that we don’t exceed our capabilities we have limited the number of units in our initial reward levels. So be sure to support us early!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Kickstarter no longer allows any project to list multiple quantities of the same reward. However, they have told us that we are allowed to “work something out with [our] backers...”.
So, once you are a backer, we’ll get in touch with you. You can always email us at http://mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
On the NanoQ a single battery lasts between 8-10 minutes and can be easily swapped with a fresh one to keep on going. Batteries take roughly 30 minutes to charge and the included charger can charge two batteries simultaneously.
The Mimix controller has its own rechargeable battery built in. It is charged through the USB port. This battery takes about 30 minutes to charge and lasts between 3-4 hours.
Yes, there is a detachable ring that protects the propellers from bumping into the wall or that new lamp shade. We don’t show the ring in our prototype photos because it’s too thin for the 3D printer to print. The injection molded part will be very durable.
A camera would be great! It needs to weigh less than 10 grams and be inexpensive enough for a toy. We haven’t found that yet but we’ll keep looking. When we do, as a backer you’ll be the first to hear about it or maybe you’ll tell us about it.
Early in the development of the NanoQ, we looked at using a smartphone as a controller, but were disappointed in its performance. We found the latency was too high, the control was too inaccurate, and the smartphone doesn't fit your hand for this application. In addition, the smartphone controller still took two hands to operate. These factors added together made the control too "mushy" in our opinion. That’s why we created the Mimix Controller.
You're right, it is hard to compete with some of the super low-cost toys coming out of China. That's why we put lots of thought into how to add value through high quality and great engineering – consumers will see that.
Plus, our unique tilt-to-fly control system is already protected by an issued US patent that was filed in 2002, three years before Nintendo introduced the Wii-Mote controller. We believe that we can compete because we make a better product, but we know that we also need to have protection against anyone knocking off our products.
The inverted props give an efficiency gain proportional to the amount of obstacles in the air column. We've found it varied between 10-20% depending on the frame and protection ring design. The inverted props also let us put the props right in the middle of the center of gravity for awesome control response. Even better, with the props on the bottom they keep spinning when you run up against the ceiling making flying indoors a breeze.
The prototype frames are 3D printed (FDM-type), but the final frames will all be injection molded with ABS plastic. This will improve durability while lowering our assembly cost (we're trying for North American assembly). The molded frames also let us do complex shapes not possible with carbon fiber. A lot of engineering time went into making sure the frames were lightweight, very strong, and easy to manufacture.
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