After its first public flight during Community Days in Milan, the AR.Drone 2.0 has continued to be a player in many Italian events. With my friend Marco Dal Pino, we shown new ways to interact with it and how to manage other interesting features.
In April, during Codemotion Rome, we talked about the on board camera and how to stream video to a Windows Phone app. We also shown the possibility to control the drone from a Windows Store app using the Xbox Controller, thanks to the SharpDX library.
Our session has been recorded and it is available on YouTube:
Then, the drone has made many flights during the Fiera del Radioamatore in Perdenone, which for the first time hosted a booth entirely dedicated to the Microsoft ecosystem. It was a great experience, and I hope that in the future we will have other opportunities like that!
Finally, on May 10 we brought the Drone at .NET Campus in Rome. In that occasion, we introduced a free Class Library that we published on NuGet, AR.Drone 2.0 Interaction Library. It allows to interact with the AR.Drone 2.0 from any application: it is available for Windows, Windows Store and Phone apps and supports all the main commands (takeoff, landing, up, down, left, right and rotate). Moreover, in future releases we will add other important features.
Among the other things, we used this library in conjunction with Intel® Perceptual Computing SDK to show how to control the drone with hand movements. It was a completely new kind of interaction that we never tried before!
The most exciting moment has been when, at the end of our session, attendees asked for a photo with us and, of course, the drone! An unexpected request that has made us really happy!
I want to thank again Microsoft Italia, that has given us the opportunity to experiment with the Drone, finding new and interesting ways to leverage its capabilities.
Last week, in Milan, took place the biggest Italian Community event, Community Days 2014. Three really interesting days: 11 tracks, 89 sessions, 75 speakers who talked about Web, Windows Phone, Windows 8.1, XAML, SQL Server, C++, gaming, hardware, and everything that can regard the world of developers.
In this scenario, I had the opportunity to take a speech with my friend Marco Dal Pino. We talked about how to interact with external devices using Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8. The main part of the session concerned the use of Wi-Fi connections. To make things more practical, we presented the AR.Drone 2.0 by Parrot, a radio controlled flying quadcopter helicopter: we showed how to interact with it from a Windows Store or a Windows Phone app.
It was a great (and funny) experience. Instead of using the existing SDK, we decided to start from scratch, with the only help of the Developer Guide. We wanted to understand how difficult it is to manage a complex device like a drone. So, we created a library with all the commands to guide it and we showed its usage during the session, with the following result:
I must admit that make the drone take off, fly and then land in front of all the attendees was a great satisfaction! And I think that our expressions at the end of the video are emblematic of how we felt.
Finally, I want to thank Microsoft Italia, that has given us the opportunity to use and test the drone, and Daniele Bochicchio and Andrea Saltarello, the organizers of Community Days, that have choosen our proposal for the session.
I’m really happy to annunce that yesterday I received the Microsoft MVP Award for Visual C#.
No doubt it is a great satisfaction. This important result encourages me to continue the path I have taken so far.
A special thank to my Community, DotNetToscana, which everyday gives me the opportunity to meet so many smart people. And I hope this is just the beginning 🙂