Beatfly: The open source blimp
On display at the Tokyo Make Meeting this past Saturday was Beatfly, a cleverly designed illuminated blimp created by Hideki Yoshimoto. Rather than just implement simple radio controls, he has playfully given Beatfly a number of control interfaces. You can drive it by iPhone, MIDI controller, Flash web interface, a standard keyboard, voice control, or even music.
While he has no immediate plans to mass produce this blimp, Mr. Yoshimoto has kindly open sourced his work, making his software, materials, mechanical drawings, and circuit diagrams readily available for anyone who would like to take to the air with Beatfly. It uses an Arduino chip and the free software Pure Data was used as the programming environment.
Those who visited Make in person could purchase their very own Beatfly, as there were a limited number of kits on sale.
In the video demo below you can see the many ways that Beatfly it can be manipulated. Not only can you control how it flies, but you can also control how it looks too. The illuminated blimp change colors as it flies, making for spectacular night flights.
The Beatfly is described as "a new kind of aerial entertainment", and its intended use is apparently recreational. But given that the design has been open sourced, expect many creative types and aerial hobbyists to re-purpose and improve upon Yoshimoto's already impressive work in a variety of ways.
To hear about more projects on display at the Tokyo Make Meeting, stay tuned to Gizmag throughout the week.