This tutorial shows how to create a Parrot Minidrone controller using a MakeyMakey, some simple programming, and a few simple materials.
A Mac computer (windows will work, but this tutorial only shows mac)
Cardboard (or a comparable material to make the dance pad from)
A rubber glove
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Step 1: Set Up Dependencies
This setup is only built to work on a Mac operating system, it will also work on PC, but the setup will be different.
First, ensure Xcode is installed on your computer. This is necessary to fulfill some of the C++ dependencies that the Bluetooth connector needs.
Second, download Node.js and follow the installation instructions.
If both of these steps work, you should be ready to create the project.
Step 2: Create Project
First, create the folder where you will be keeping the project. To make the guide easier to follow, name the project "Quadcopter" and place it on your desktop.
After you create your folder, open the Terminal and enter the following command:
and replace "PROJECT_NAME" with the name of your project.
Now you should be able to install the rolling-spider library.
In the terminal, enter the command:
npm install rolling-spider
npm install keypress
If these commands are successful, your project folder is now set up and ready to be programmed.
Step 3: Create Commands
To get a simple version of the controller, go to https://github.com/James-Hynes/SimpleDroneController and click
Clone or download -> Download ZIP
After it downloads, unpack the file and copy the "main.js" file into your project folder which should be already set up.
To run the program, simply go into the terminal, navigate back to your project folder using the "cd" command, and then run the command
The terminal should find the nearest drone and immediately connect to it. You can look in the "main.js" file to find the controls and manipulate them as you like.
Step 4: Step 4: the Glove
We used a 5mm thick rubber glove for our left side controller. We recommend using a thicker glove like a gardening glove to avoid frustration. This controlled the drone’s altitude and rotation. The controls were as follows:
Index: Raise Drone
Middle: Lower Drone
Ring: Turn left
Pinky: Turn right
When the thumb touches any of the other fingers the makey makey circuit is complete and the corresponding action is translated through the computer to the drone. The glove is made by first cutting a hole in the thumb for the makeymakey’s “earth.” Next attach a piece of tin foil to each remaining finger. To each piece of tin foil, attach an alligator clip and clip the other end to the makeymakey.
Step 5: Step 5: the Board
For the board you will need: 1 board, some tinfoil, some wires, and hot glue.
Cut out 4 pieces of tin foil around 4”x4” then glue them to the board, make sure to leave one side unglued so you can attach a wire. Then make four smaller squares, 2”x2” and glue them next to each other on the end of the board so you can attach them to the makeymakey. Next wire each foot pad to the contact pads then fix the wires to the board with hot glue. Finally attach the makeymakey to the contact pads and prepare for take off!