On Lily

(Thankfully) before the Rand went really bad, I ordered a Lily. Not the flower of death, but the super cool drone which follows you around like a beagle expecting a snack. The waiting time before shipping was 9 months, presumably because they needed orders to make money to make drones. But they promised that they would keep in touch during the process and, I have to say, they have. I get an update about every two or three weeks on average. Sometimes they introduce new members of staff, sometimes they tell me about some robotics conference they have been to, and sometimes the updates are rather more technical.

Here’s a sample from the one that arrived last night, all about a pre-production take off, landing and camera test.

As you can see in this footage, there are three image quality issues: fisheye distortion, wobble, and stabilization. The team is on it, addressing each issue as follows:

  • The current dampening and wiring cause internal vibrations, resulting in wobble. We are adjusting the durometer of the vibration dampening system and re-assembling the wires to ensure this wobble is removed.

  • The unbalanced fisheye distortion is caused by a mistuning of the external polycarbonate lens. We have already re-tuned the external lens and this issue will not appear on the production version.

  • Our electronic stabilization software (EIS) was not used in this video. We will be porting this piece to the unit in the coming days and expect much better performance. More on that soon. That’s all for now!

So glad that they are adjusting the durometer of the vibration dampening system. Heaven only knows why the durometer of the vibration dampening system was unadjusted in the first place. Rookie error, guys. Even I know to adjust the durometer of the vibration dampening system before I do pre-production tests. (I would also probably have mistuned the external polycarbonate lens though. That’s always a tough one to remember.)

The Lily people say that they are still on schedule to ship in February, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a couple of delays. We’ll see. The thing is, the communication process has been so open and transparent, that I think I would be rather understanding if things were to run a bit late. And there’s a lesson for a lot of companies in there.

Up where?

Here at 6000 Towers, we love drones and we love wind turbines (is this right? – Ed.). So just imagine a story which contains both of them. Well, stop imagining. It’s here.

It’s 2015, so no matter how much privacy you think you may have, there is always a chance that a drone is lurking nearby, ready to invade your seclusion.
Drone pilot Kevin Miller was capturing some footage of a wind turbine in Rhode Island, when his craft accidentally revealed a man that was attempting to catch some rays on the deck of the turbine, the Daily Mirror reports.

Initially, the man didn’t seem too pleased about being discovered, and it appears that he even flipped the drone off. But Miller told the Mirror, “Upon landing he saw me bring the drone down and was leaning over the edge. I looked up and wave to him and he waved back.”

Nice. And yes, there’s some video:

Weird, hey?

But then, there’s this line:

It is still unclear who the man was, or if he had permission to be on top of the turbine.

Wait. That’s it? That’s all you’re going to ask about that bit of the story?

Because, let’s be honest, wind turbines are wind turbines, drones are great and it’s quite cool to see the latter filming the former. That’s because it’s quite cool to see the latter filming most anything right now.
That’s not the interesting bit here. The interesting bit is what appears to be a middle-aged man, whose identity is a complete mystery, apparently sunbathing on top of a 200ft wind turbine. That’s the interesting bit and you’ve glossed over it in 20 words? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?

FIND the man.
FIND out why he was up there.
And REPORT THAT – not “Oh. I saw a man and I don’t know who he was or why he was there.”

Seriously. So many sleepless nights coming up til we find out what was going on here.


The temptation to pre-order one of these is almost unbearable. And, at “just” $529 including shipping from the good old US of A, it’s actually incredible value as well.

You can place your order here. The only issue is that it doesn’t ship until February next year.

I’m already twitching.