Drones

Rook drone lets users fly around their homes from anywhere in the world

Rook drone lets users fly arou...
The Rook can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world via a smartphone
The Rook can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world via a smartphone
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The Rook is a camera drone built for in-home use
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The Rook is a camera drone built for in-home use
The Rook can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world via a smartphone
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The Rook can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world via a smartphone
The Rook connects to the Internet via a home Wi-Fi connection
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The Rook connects to the Internet via a home Wi-Fi connection

Anyone who has piloted a drone knows that wide open spaces are your friend, so the idea of an indoor drone might seem like a questionable idea. But there is method in the madness for the team at Eighty Nine Robots, a company formed by a group of students from Northwestern University. Their Rook drone is intended to allow users to remotely do a sweep of the interior of their homes from anywhere in the world via a Wi-Fi connection and an iOS or Android device.

Once the Rook is connected to the user's home Wi-Fi, it can be remotely controlled via smartphone and used as an indoor flying security camera, giving users the ability to monitor and investigate any activity that seems to be out of the ordinary. The Rook can also be used to regularly monitor pets or baby sitters or to see if a stove or iron has been turned off or a garage is closed.

The Rook connects to the Internet via a home Wi-Fi connection
The Rook connects to the Internet via a home Wi-Fi connection

Battery life, however, is a very slight five minutes, but the company says that should be plenty of time for users to propel the drone through most homes at least once throughout the day. An automated charging dock will also fully recharge the Rook within an hour.

A recently launched Indiegogo campaign allows early backers to purchase a Rook for US$99, which is a reduction of over half of the expected regular retail price of $200 to $250.00 and considerably less than the price of more expensive drones designed for outdoor use. The price of the Rook includes soft blade guards to reduce the risk of damage that might occur if the drone runs into items in the home. The company expects to begin shipping the Rook in December 2016 if all goes as planned.

While the Rook may be the first drone designed specifically for in-door use, it joins small drones like the world's tiniest camera drone and the Axis VIDIUS whose small sizes mean you're more likely to find them flying inside than out.

Source: Eighty Nine Robots

6 comments
Daishi
I was talking about something like this earlier today. For all the same reasons I should be able to go to the website of a museum and pay to lease a telepresence robot to drive around and look around the place remotely it would be cool to have a program where you can do similar things with programmed drones that operate within a perimeter. Once drones are smarter you could equip them with some obstacle avoidance but also an external buckyball structure that allows you to collide into other drones or objects without destroying the thing. Maybe you could buzz around a national park for a couple minutes in FPV before disconnecting and having it auto-return to base. FPV RC cars that are controlled over the internet would be a fun alternative to a software racing game as well. I actually thought about putting an Arduino controller RC car on a track in my basement and allowing it to be controlled remotely from the Internet but doing this is simple enough that I'm surprised I haven't seen a anyone else doing it on a slightly larger scale allowing people to queue up and race each other. Maybe twitch races RC cars would be fun. Maybe it will be here in a couple more years but I would expect a company to do it as a promotion temporarily if nothing else.
Rustgecko
If the drone was programmed to do a specific route it will not work. It hard enough to control and fly a drone well on the outside, but the slight delay caused by the Internet and distance will make this idea impractical.
Steve_in_NJ
Without infra-red(IR)obstacle avoidance, and altitude hold via ultrasound (like a few similarly-priced quads out there) in my opinion this thing is doomed to disapoint. Tiny quads take practice to keep flying where the pilot wants even when he's looking right at it, but via FPV and a with fair amount of lag due to the wifi and remote video connection, it'll end up upside-down under the couch in no time. I hope to be proved wrong, but...
PlanetPapi
I'm not too sure if this is a good idea. A lot of things can go wrong remotely especially within a confined space. I agree with Steve_in_NJ. You need to be really good at it even in outdoors. The article didn't make it clear on how it is going to be recharged automatically. Like a roomba, that docks to the charging station? The idea is too ambitious I think unless the team comes up with some magic to achieve all this.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Almost fly-by-phone but can't fly point-to-point.
Daniel Harbin
I agree with Dash, Rust and Steve in that the drone is most likely too accident prone when flown remotely. However, with object avoidance systems and computer control with human remote backup (for unforeseen circumstances) this could work.