Kickstarting the FT Aviator: From Paper Napkin to Jedi Drone Controller in 10,000 Easy Steps - Fluidity
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Kickstarting the FT Aviator: From Paper Napkin to Jedi Drone Controller in 10,000 Easy Steps

It’s hard to describe the unbridled elation my team and I feel getting to the finish line today, as we announce our new FT Aviator drone flight controller. But it’s the first of many finish lines, as today is also the starting line for our very first product sales, and what we expect will eventually be a broad array of products for everything that moves through physical and virtual space. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Once upon a time I was actually paid to fly in space, as a NASA astronaut. I never let on that I would’ve flown my five Space Shuttle missions for free, as long as there was a roof over my head and food on the family table. It was such a great honor to serve, and an unforgettable gift to experience the wonders of weightlessness while floating high above our planet.

From that vantage point, moving about by means of handrails and occasionally on the very tip of a robotic arm, I developed a true sense of mobility in a full six degrees-of-freedom space. At the risk of sounding too much like an aviator, I will say it’s not just about your physical location (your X, Y and Z), but also your orientation (your pitch, yaw and roll) relative to the Earth. As I gained experience and additional flight time, I learned to move much more gracefully and efficiently from the flight deck of our Shuttle to “downstairs” in the middeck and over to the International Space Station. Up there I learned how to tuck, twist and roll with the precision of an Olympic diver, intentionally controlling my trajectories to move myself in the most efficient path possible.

In other aspects of my terrestrial and extraterrestrial life, movement through space was equally important. I flew planes and robotic arms, trained for my missions in virtual reality simulators, played (and lost) computer games with my son, and dabbled in computer aided design. But it was a memorable experience in a surgical robotics lab that really drew my attention to the fact that the ways in which we move our technologies in physical and virtual space weren’t very intuitive. In fact, all of the controllers I’d used required a lot of training to master, and even more to maintain a decent level of proficiency. I wanted to create a way where users – pilots, roboticists, gamers, surgeons – could focus on where they wanted to go, rather than the mechanics of how they were going to get there.

Fast forward many months, many prototypes and many tests, we’re ready to share our FT Aviator with the world. As you’ll learn from our videos, testimonials and upcoming blog posts, we’ve figured out a way to substantially reduce a drone pilot’s workload so they can get out and focus on the flying – whether it’s for fun or work. We’ve reduced the tendency for drone controllers to cause unintended motion, known as cross-coupling, and we provide a subtle tactile feedback to let you know when you’re issuing a command to your drone, and equally importantly when you’re not. We’ve added visual position feedback for those “oh no” moments when you briefly lose sight of your drone or its orientation, and unique camera control features that will empower you to get great photos and video right out of the box.

Campaign details

Our 30-day campaign officially kicks off today and will end on December 4th. Backers of the project will receive our FT Aviator at a special Kickstarter price. Early backers will also be automatically enrolled in our Fluidity Insiders Team, a Kickstarter-exclusive group that will help shape the future capabilities of the FT Aviator and subsequent products.

Be one of the first to order FT Aviator and save $224 off the expected retail price of $449, a 50% discount (limited quantity at this price).

For more about the FT Aviator and our Kickstarter campaign click the button link below:

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