First Mavic Mini Flight

I did not get a chance to post yesterday, there was just too much going on, and one of those things was a test flight of our new Mavic Mini!  First impressions are great.  I cannot believe how easy to fly and stable this drone is, especially for it’s size and price point! The new easier to use software, DJI Fly, is pretty good although I did have a bit of a challenge reading some of the vital telemetry details such as the number of GPS satellites I had locked. Some of that will come with more practice as I get more used to the apps layout.

I was able to accomplish all of the mission objectives.

  • Fly this new Mavic Mini and assess it’s ability
  • Obtain video of Hawthorne’s green roofs for a Green Team project
  • Get some flight time, it had been about a month since my last true flight

The one thing that caught me off guard was that I received more attention from the birds on campus than from any humans!  There was a group of pigeons I believe that was hanging out on the roof of Koussevitzky that did not like this new loud flying thing in their space.  They came to check it out several times, circling the small drone and my reaction was to descend, which seemed to be what they were looking for.  When I went back again a little later, they were even more aggressive and you can even see the birds on a few frames of video 3 about halfway through.  At one other point a hawk of some sort took notice and was interested, but more curious than aggressive.  Once the hawk saw what was going on it was no longer interested.

Here is the full video of the mission.  This video will be edited down and used in a Green Team commercial or orientation video, we’re not really sure what the end product will be.

Yes, I need to be more mindful of shadows and lighting.  🙂

Mavic Mini Day

Today the delivery is scheduled for the newest drone to the BCC lineup, a DJI Mavic Mini.  At least, I really hope that it comes today as I already have a mission planned for tomorrow.  The main goal of this new drone is to have a small but versatile piece of equipment that can not only be used for STEM demonstrations for students, but also accomplish some real tasks.  I think that this new drone will fill that gap for many, especially considering how affordable it is.  In fact, it has pretty much all the same abilities and features of the Phantom 3 Standard that BCC already has, just updated in a smaller and easier to manage form.  

I wasn’t originally planning on flying tomorrow, however a student suggested it when we were working on another project I am leading that is tasked with making a Green Team commercial/orientation video.  One of the shots on the shot list is to capture presentable video of the vegetative green roofs on Hoffman or Melville.  The student asked, “why don’t you just use a drone to get that shot?” and he is right.  The weather tomorrow looks good for flying, I need to test this thing anyway, and it is the best way to get this shot.  Having surveyed the area I noticed that because of the time of year it isn’t as “green” as I would like, although I cannot deny a good opportunity to accomplish a few things all at the same time.  I also haven’t flown a mission in about a month and it’s always good to prevent your skills from getting rusty.  Drone piloting is one of those skills I’ve found that you really need to “use it or loose it.”

And now it’s taken me so long to write this that I have the Mavic Mini in hand.  Time to get to work.

Oculus Link – Beta gone live

I wrote about this yesterday in my post, and shortly after writing Oculus Link has gone to live beta. It looks like all you need to do is install the Oculus Rift software and meet the minimum requirements.  One of the things folks in the media have pointed out is that the number of GPUs supported by the beta is slim at the moment, meaning that I might have to wait a while longer to actually give this a try.  None the less, I’m going to install the software as I’m sure I will be able to try this eventually.  Just need to make room on my HD as the Rift software requires 21GB of space.

What this means is that the sheer amount of content available for the Quest will expand greatly, especially with the promise that you will be able to access VR content on Valve’s Steam platform.  One of the plans I have over the holiday break is to work with my son towards getting him interested in VR.  He’s obsessed with Skyrim, and Steam has a version of that that should run on the Quest connected to Rift with the Link.  Wow, that’s an unusual sentence.

I have  lot going on this week.  The college’s new Mavic Mini drone is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow and I also have a borrowed Osmo 3 Mobile that I have to get some shots with or have students get shots with before the end of the week.  That’s when the generous person who allowed us to borrow it wants it back, and they’ve been so helpful already!

Tomorrow I will write more about what I’m working on.  I still haven’t had a chance to test my tiny Tello drone with the software that I plan on using for the Stem Cafe in a few weeks — maybe Friday?  But then again, I was considering taking a half day which I very much need!