Luci board on a small quadcopter frame

Why I Love Luci

Advisors often tell us, “Don’t fall in love with your product, fall in love with your customer instead.” As a company, we are constantly thinking of ways to improve the dronesmithing experience, continually improving the products and tools that simplify the development process for our customers. But being less romantic and more objective about our products has been an exercise in restraint as an engineer. After all, the customer is ultimately the end user. It wasn’t until we ourselves became the end user that I let myself fall in love with Luci.

About a month ago, we met up with Resin to discuss collaboration on a project with a 3-week delivery time-frame for Mobile World Congress. Resin is an Internet of Things (IoT) application development platform with a distributed team of employees located in various parts of the world. The project would allow an in-flight drone to update software on-demand.

For the project, we wanted to take on a meaningful, human-centered approach to drones. To do this, we decided to integrate a thermal camera onto a drone to illustrate how a drone could be of value in a search-and-rescue scenario. The concept was to utilize on-board sensors and remote-sensing techniques to aid human operations with machine intelligence. Luci’s unique dual processor architecture not only solved the problem of dedicated flight safety, but also of on-board sensing, drone fleet management, and data linking to ground operation centers.

Thanks to Luci’s out-of-the-box IoT capabilities, Pablo, Resin’s developer was able to deploy the code wirelessly, in real-time onto a Luci in Las Vegas — all remotely from Argentina.

We had created the first standalone, wirelessly programmable autopilot.

Drones like 3DR Solo can do wireless programming as well, but the feature for it is specific to their drone platform alone. Since Luci is a standalone programmable device, users can develop on it and use it on any drone platform that they want. In this case, our client ended up choosing QKII as the final airframe. Normally, for this kind of chassis replacement, the project would have been significantly delayed. But for us, the new implementation was done in minutes.

Thermal video stream at LAUNCH

At LAUNCH, we exhibited the live thermal video stream, and it was a hit. Like humans, we believe robots can have senses beyond mere sight. So why only use drones for aerial photography, when you can enable all 5 senses - or in this case, the World’s Sixth Sense with a FLIR thermal sensor?

We can only imagine what other dronesmiths will be able to create and innovate using Luci.