we should back this

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Steve Hall:

That is an awesome concept.  The device yes, but also the business launch marketing tool.  There are some very bright young people coming into the workplace.

I have backed a few from Kickstarter, Hopefully this will get off the ground no pun intended, well maybe a little. 75000 for a goal is quite high. Be interested to see if the directional would be stable with just a paddle. Tilt looks good though.

Donald Jacobs

Thank you Steve for posting this, and for all your help publicizing this project. And thanks for the compliment, tarheel!

I'm Ori, the person behind the Sparrowscope. The Kickstarter page for the Sparrowscope: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1818583221/sparrowscope-take-stunning-aerial-photos-from-a-ki

 I've been into kites for my whole life; here I am at age 2, in a photo my dad took.

My dad would take me to that spot by the river, where you can't fly kites anymore because some trees have grown in. My mom tells the story that I would try to wrap the kite line around my waist and say "now my turn!" I tried to attach the kite tail to myself, figuring that was the reason that it could fly and I couldn't. My grasp of aerodynamics has significantly improved since then :)

I'm glad to still be flying kites. Here's a photo of my dad and me from a few weeks ago (taking the barn photo that's in the video), but this time I'm taking the picture and it's from the Sparrowscope so we are both in it. You can see me pressing the shutter button on the iPad my dad is holding. I mailed my parents a print of this photo just before launching the Kickstarter, because without them I wouldn't have got to where I am today.

I appreciate any tweets, emails to people who might be interested in the Sparrowscope, or anything else to get the word out there. If you want a Sparrowscope for yourself, you can see I was striving to make the most user-friendly rig, and I managed to make it less than half the price of what the equivalent rig would cost you today, and with a fraction of the complexity. You can support the project here:

Donald: yep, it's a high goal, but making these custom metal and plastic components needs a bulk order—300 units is what I need to make for this project to make sense. Just that one final prototype from the video (not counting development time, which is the real expense but didn't come directly from my bank account) cost me around $3000; the up-front cost of these things is quite high. Making a lot of them is a must to get the rig under $200, and even if I make the goal I still don't cover those sunk development costs. I'm really doing this for fun, if I was in it for money I would have made yet another metal pen on Kickstarter ;)

As for the paddlewheel, a lot of testing went to getting that combination of motor and paddlewheel shape. You can imagine that with a very small paddlewheel, you get less 'push' but also a higher motor speed. As the paddlewheel gets larger, you get more torque, then it starts dropping off again until you reach some point where there's too much air resistance and the paddlewheel won't even turn against the wind. There's an efficiency peak somewhere in the middle of 'tiny paddlewheel' and 'huge paddlewheel', which I got to by trial and error. It works well and doesn't require pushing against the kite line, so there isn't any springback to the rotation which you get with picavet rigs (I tested those too!).

Thanks everyone,


How do you get the live video feed to the ground if all you have on the ground is a Wi-Fi device and a location without an internet connection (most places open enough to safely fly a kite)?


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