Note: This post was originally published on iamianwright.com it’s been moved here for archival purposes.
With the development of GPS controlled drones, far-reaching cheap radio equipment and tiny new computers like the Raspberry Pi, we’re going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air.
Linked from the comments on The Pirate Bay’s blog was a project that created temporary filesharing networks in public spaces using a swarm of GPS quadcopters.
It’s fascinating to me how far we have come in such a short space of time. They made it clear that The Pirate Bay’s project is at it’s very beginning but what an amazing concept. I’ve been wanting to build a GPS Quadcopter for a while, with a view to shooting video and stills but this really intrigues me.
I presume that similar things could be achieved, albeit over a much shorter distance, using an Arduino with a wireless shield and an SD card for storage. There is already a very active community building copters and gliders powered by arduinos so adding on the ability to run a simplistic fileserver would presumably not be beyond the realms of possibility.
The problem, as ever, is powering the device. Being airborne the logical choice would be solar power but as far as I understand it we are not yet at a place where high efficiency solar panels are plentiful or affordable. There is an interesting article from DIY Drones which was published two years ago and concludes.
Considering these factors, building a bigger solar airplane is probably harder than building a small solar airplane. Based on the successes referenced above, I must conclude that it is possible, but not easy (or cheap).
Hopefully I’ll have some time to research this further and find out how the technology has progressed over the last couple of years.
Photo Credit: Mad Props UK Aerial Photography and Aerial Video