Eduporium Experiment | Syma QuadCopter
Remote-controlled (or RC) toys have been popular since the debut of the first RC car in the late 1960s (the car in question was a toy Ferrari, developed by Italian electronics company Elettronica Giocattoli). By the 1970s, RC car racing was a popular hobby and, since then, the remote-controlled toy industry has continued to flourish and grow. The newest RC toy on the market these days? Personal drones: little flying machines, often modeled after helicopters, with a set of propellers to keep them airborne. Light, easy to fly, and tons of fun, every kid (and adult!) these days wants a drone.
Eduporium carries several different kinds of drones, including those that could fit in the palm of your hand and some that could take up an entire table, but this week I took a closer look at one of our newest and most affordable options, the Syma Quadcopter X5C.
For flavor, I want to briefly state that I’ve never flown a drone – or anything else remote-controlled – for that matter. I went into this experiment feeling much like a kid who opened their first drone on Christmas might be feeling: excited, but also a bit nervous. I had a feeling I was probably not going to be a very good pilot.
Much to my surprise, flying the X5C was not as hard – or scary – as I thought it was going to be! The drone uses what I understood to be a fairly standard controller comprised of two sticks, one to control speed and rotation, and another to control movement. As someone who plays a lot of video games, I was able to grasp the control scheme pretty quickly – it felt very similar to my controllers at home. With just a little help from the manual, I was able to get flying in only a couple of minutes.
Since it’s very cold outside up here just outside of Boston, and our office is on a pretty busy road, I didn’t get to take the X5C outside to test its full capabilities, but I did do a bit of flying inside our techXplore room! I found the controls to be very sensitive, which took some getting used to. Since the X5C is incredibly light, it’s able to react very quickly to the slightest change in motor speed, which meant I did crash into the ceiling and walls a few times. Thankfully, the X5C is built to withstand some fairly substantial beatings, and nothing worse happened to my little drone than one of its blade protectors coming loose (but, hey, that’s what they’re there for).
After my flight, I sat down to check out the X5C’s other capabilities. The drone comes equipped with a camera, allowing users to use it to take videos and photos from high in the sky. The coolest thing I learned, though? The X5C can fly upside-down! With its 6-axis gyro flight systems, the drone can flip in the air while remaining airborne and in the driver’s control.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the Quadcopter X5C. When it gets warmer, I might even take it outside to try some flips for myself! I think that this affordable drone would be an excellent introduction to RC drone technology and STEM education in general for any child or adult who is interested in learning more about this exciting (and growing!) facet of robotics technology.