more exciting ‘robots’
to be developed at
Parallax is the ELEV8
quadcopter shown in
including the ELEV8 —
have been discussed in
SERVO in several
articles (including my
column), but I am
always amazed just
how advanced these
flyers have become.
The ELEV8 is a bit
more than a small
as it can handle a fairly
heavy payload of
cameras, sensors, and
the like. Parallax has experimented with numerous flyers,
from the three boom “Y” hexcopter shown in Figure 16
to others such as the octocopter shown in Figure 17.
During one of my visits to Parallax, Ken and several of
his engineering staff and I went to a nearby open field,
packing a dozen different flyers and a large box of burgers
and fries. Though a lot of ‘play’ was involved, it is these
types of exercises that help Parallax refine and improve the
All of the staff were far more adept at flying than me,
but Ken was determined to have me navigate one of the
ELEV8s. I had my own transmitter, and binding it to one of
his flyers was easy.
My very first flight was pretty good as I managed to
maneuver it around and gently land it on the grass. The
second flight was not so graceful as I managed to flip it
over just as it came down on the asphalt road. Even
crashing upside down, it suffered no damage.
My third flight was even less graceful as I not only tried
to land upside down but managed to break several of the
props, as shown in Figure 18. Ken just politely smiled at
me and said “That’s okay. No problem.”
When a company produces products as complex as
microcontrollers and robots, proper education about the
products and their many applications is important for the
SERVO 09.2013 79
Figure 13. Jeff Martin with student Daelin Arney
at science fair.
Figure 14. Daelin's ingenious
pneumatic robot arm exhibit.
Figure 17. Prototype octocopter hanging on wall.