Remote-controlled cars? Awesome. Quadropters. Exceptionally rad-endowed. How about sticking them together? Not crudely with dollar-store cyanoacrylate, but sophisticated engineering know-how and first-rate materials. That’s Witold Mielniczek’s “B” in a nutshell. Well, a polycarbonate chassis, actually.
Mielniczek, who has a degree in Product Design and Robotics and is currently sorting out a PhD in Computational Engineering and Design at Southampton University in the UK, is behind this Kickstarter to transform his idea into mass-produced reality. He already has a prototype, which you can see in action in the clip above. (Unfortunately, the voice quality is quite poor, but the vision speaks for itself.)
The “B” is constructed of polycarbonate, with rubber wheels and rotors that are extremely resistant to damage. The machine can easily transition from driving to flying and back again and its 220mm-diameter rims can tackle a surprising array of terrain types. Best of all, you can record the little guy’s activities, thanks to a 1280 x 720 HD camera affixed to the front, with support for SD cards up to 32GB.
The bad news is the battery life. The planned 2200mAh lithium-ion pack can only manage 18 minutes of driving time and 11 minutes of flying, with Mielniczek citing an average life of 15 minutes. Hopefully this can be extended in preproduction, once the project is fully funded.
And that’s the kick(start)er — the “B” is sitting at £11,433 of its £86,500 goal, with 38 days to go. Which bodes well, but you never know with these things. The minimum buy is £125 ($193) — that gets you a self-assembly kit, while £370 ($572) gets you a fully-constructed device. So it’s not cheap, but since when can you put a price on cool (unless you’re talking sunglasses, in which case it’s easy)?