Lift off

IMG_20141024_170301I have a weird relationship with the DJI Phantom having only met it through the various user-generated 3D printed hacks that I used to have to plan, build and (frustratingly sort)  for Shapeways. There are twenty pages of add-ons, alternative landing gears, auxiliary battery packs and camera mounts on the website. These flying devices have entered the market in an era where personalization and appropriation are becoming the norm. I  wonder if maybe there is more of a correlation between this particular piece of technology and the demographic that seeks to push the boundaries of its use than other devices such as phones, video games or other things might fall under the “practical toy” category. Sure there are lots of people using their phones in innovative ways  especially in the ‘hacker’ and ‘maker’ communities. There is something slightly more mercenary when it comes to drones though. Whether it is a certain counter-cultural/activist vein that is inherent to the engineering type who tend to spearhead the adoption of these devices or that this product comes during an era where awareness of privacy and curiosity is keenly felt, flying machines have begun to symbolize this era… or at least the era I feel like I’m taking part in. They are as accessible as they are phenomenal and as polarized in their variety as the people who use them.

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As for me, I need to think of a project that i want to spend this kind of incredible access (and limited battery power) on. My only ideas thus far have to do with architecture and structure… specifically abandoned buildings (like Bell Labs, I WISH I had been able to go there last year). I grew up in a town just North of the Bronx with a lot of abandoned warehouses that were used by the mob to store the garbage that they controlled in the seventies. Maybe there’s something there. I am very excited about getting good at controlling the vehicle though, I think that’s where my brain is right now… maybe I’ll go on Shapeways and get some gear for it.