This semester I have been following the works of Sam as he looks to conquer the quest in building the perfect drone. Whilst he won’t admit that he is ‘The Drone Guy’, there is no denying that he is the drone king of UOW at least.
Sam’s drone journey began well before his time at University which makes his story unique. At aged 16 whilst on work placement at the RMS in his home town of Parkes, Sam noticed that the way the engineers and surveyors were conducting bridge inspections seemed to be time and money and consuming and a young Sam thought that there must be a better way to complete these tasks.
It wasn’t until his second year at uni until Sam started experimenting with drones. Sam would first get his hands on a drone in Digc202 where he had an idea for a project that was to…
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The space that will be transformed into an existential dimension will consist of a door that doesn’t have a prerequisite for entry or denial. Each person will approach a door that has the words:
These are guidance points for the audience responder, the next move from the audience interaction is my way of exploring the wonderment aesthetic. The use of a movement sensor will operate the lights underneath each word, which will be completely randomised and have no influence on the person and could be different on multiple interactions with the same people. I want to explore the idea of class and how the choices and decisions controlled by the digital realm has no ‘cost of entry’.Perhaps a strange take on the actions of the internet promoting anonymity, and how the rear of the door that is covered in black spray paint and wax could represent another dimension of the internet.
After attending New Romance: art and the posthuman at the Museum of Contemporary Art I found Patricia Piccinini & Peter Hennessey’s work , Alone with the gods, 2016 very interesting in the way that it could transform everyday household furniture and items into some kind of surrealist or uncanny space. I drew particular attention to their subtle use of wax and crystals in the way they could allude to a new experience. I took this creative element along with a childhood experience that I associated with wonderment was the arrangement of magnetic letters on a fridge. This idea fascinated me as a kid as if I had something within the food storage that couldn’t be opened if i arranged the words “No”.
(Patricia Piccinini & Peter Hennessey, Alone with the gods, 2016, installation view, New Romance: art and the posthuman, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, mixed media, image courtesy and © the artist, photograph: Alex Davies)
“explore ideas of secret societies, parallel worlds, genetic modification, evolution and mutation in their new collaborative workAlone with the gods (2016). Designed to be an ‘immersive narrative space’ the installation is based on a story the artists wrote about a fictional isolationist cult.” (MCA, 2016)
The idea and the organisation of the work will have a door frame connected to a pair of ropes that gives the idea of hanging in space. The front side will have an LED lighting arrangement (currently using Christmas lights) that will be hooked up to an arduino movement sensor so that when the audience member gets close enough, the sensor will trigger a random word to light up via the coloured lights. The word that is given to that person will hopefully trigger a curiosity element or perhaps even a rebellious streak for them to look around the behind of the door. This will hopefully lead them to discover the free-lance nature the internet creates and that we’re free to understand the world behind instructions. I like the idea that i’ll have no control over the responses nor whether the “instructions” on the front of the door will be obeyed by the responders.
From the above prototype, the changes in the lights arrangement and the times they come on will be varied slightly different when the movement sensor is added. This is to showcase the aesthetic I’m aiming when they change individually. Through class discussion and feedback when presenting the prototype I was told that the general colour arrangement was an aesthetic in itself. I was also encouraged to explore a lighting set up that would make the words easier to read. A suggestion that was also an interesting interpretation was the choice to leave the lights all on and turn off the desired response as an instruction. The next step with this project is to acquire technical support so that I can understand how the lights can be wired and arranged to the intentional purposes. The location was something that was given a warm reception to have it slightly in the middle of the space so that it wasn’t really essential to see the worded side of the door first, perhaps showcasing the accidental nature of wonderment. Perhaps the most interesting suggestion is the use of a mirror at the rear of the door to represent perhaps a parallel view. The idea that if you go against the authoritative instruction you’ve only got yourself or your own reflection to ponder on.
A little taste of what 1st Year Communications and Media Studies at the University of Wollongong Produce
The first semester I successfully printed parts for then assembled a 3D Printed prosthesis for a young child.
Second Semester saw an A.R. Parrot Drone be released outside commercial use and onto a farming property for jobs such as livestock inspection, fence inspections, feed checks and crop surveillance.
Regulated First Person View Drone races around designed courses at university. The idea would be that the FPV regulations would be lifted in situations where they can be controlled and performed safely. People can bring their devices and enter a series of races and time trials as well as develop their piloting skills with the assistance of this emerging technology.
Looking at Drones was something I initially wanted to carry into a Cyber cultural extension from their agricultural usage. I wanted to link them to human capacity and challenge the speculative narratives they carried within a local context of my hometown in relatively small rural area. General awareness of their emergence was little and therefore creating a disadvantaged implementation into the corporate sector to perhaps improve a fast-changing technological shift, especially in government workspaces.
As an aim or goal for this digital artefact I wanted to explore ways a quadcopter fitted with a 360-degree video camera could address the ways prevalent culverts (or drainage pipes under the roads) could be inspected, observed and surveyed better and most importantly safer for less costing and less time taken to do so. The artefact was to build a custom drone that hasn’t yet been seen or released in the commercial market that would be something the Roads and Maritime Services would consider innovative and consider implementing into their regular workspaces. The drone has been trialled for observation of large bridges, but not the culvert area, which is where I focussed on. The device isn’t a finished product ready for testing. However, I plan to continue working on it and taking it into future classes, projects and workspaces whilst I continually build on the expertise it’s started giving me. The drone will hover in the air, however the controls are yet to be properly configured which will be done by Rise Above Solutions (an Australian Based Drone expert dealer and service provider) along with a safety inspection in terms of motors, Lipo batteries and propellers. This is so that when the remote control is ready for take-off no unexpected breakages arise leading to an unsafe environment for those around. Once this is completed further testing and flights can be recorded.
Though the artefact isn’t complete, the achievements and overall skillset it’s proven is something that has grabbed my full attention. Firstly, the expertise I’ve gained from this build is amazing and something I’m proud of. YouTube was a great tool that I’ve used and taught myself how to use and build electronics, from soldering wires, to attachments of motors, to battery testing. Then the hardware of the cameras I’ve touched on stitching software and how it can be a timely process, GoPro usage was something I’ve learn new skills in and created other videos of the things that interest me. The lights and switch soldering to the battery was something I learnt from the original soldering tutorials as well as flight expertise, knowing how much thrust etc. to give the drone when wanted to pan or fly forwards, as well as knowing processes into calibrating a remote control, and how this is a pivotal step when buying a universal remote.
Lastly, this project has allowed a whole new aspect of networking. I’ve gained contacts within Rise Above Solutions that I’ll be able to meet with and discuss options for future builds including Rafi Mehdi, the director of the company whose detailed he’d be happy to help in future. Douglas Simkin, UOW tutor, has also detailed of his friends that would be interested in looking at the build whom he’s acquaintances with. Then there’s those I am working with at the RMS, in terms of project managers, Regional Area Managers, and Board members whom I’m giving a presentation to in Bathurst on the 17th June as a progress report on the drone project. All of these are exciting and something I put towards future career prospects. This is due to having thinking about the cybernetic relationship with the drone, the pilot, the camera lens, and the new “bubble” perspective 360 video allows users to think about new possibilities within surveillance.
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Street Insider, 2016, 360fly Partners with Livit to Offer First Live Streaming Platform for Mobile Virtual Reality, Street Insider, viewed 1st June 2016, < http://www.streetinsider.com/Press+Releases/360fly+Partners+with+Livit+to+Offer+First+Live+Streaming+Platform+for+Mobile+Virtual+Reality/11417004.html>
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MultiRotors, M 2014, How to Build the DJI F450 Flamwheel Drone With Naza Flight Controller and DT7 Radio, Online Video, 18th April, YouTube, viewed april 12th 2016, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER2GxMo0X3E>
360fly Support, 360Fly and Livit Team Up to Offer live Streaming of 360 degree video, 360Fly, viewed 1st June 2016, <https://support.360fly.com/hc/en-us/articles/218071267-360fly-and-Livit-team-up-to-offer-live-streaming-of-360-video>
Parrot Mini Drones, Maclane Airborne Night Drone, Parrot.com, viewed 1 June 2016, <http://www.parrot.com/usa/products/minidrones/airborne-night-drone/mcclane/>