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CES 2017: Airblock is a modular drone that can be disassembled and reassembled

By John Law & Koh Wanzi - on 9 Jan 2017, 11:14am

CES 2017: Airblock is a modular drone that can be disassembled and reassembled

The pieces snap together using magnetic connectors.

You want your drone to be in one piece most of the time. Not so much with the Airblock. This drone from Shenzen-based robotics startup Makeblock is comprised of magnetic, modular parts that allow you to dismantle the drone and put it together in a different configuration. There are two main modes – hexacopter drone and hovercraft – but its modularity leaves the path open to further setups.

The brains of the drone, which includes the processor, motors, and rotors, are all enclosed in a central housing constructed of a lightweight styrofoam material. In addition, the fan blades are surrounded by a hexagonal frame so they are not exposed, making the drone safe to fly indoors and around children.

The individual pieces interface with each other via magnetic connectors, so assembly and disassembly is a cinch.

You can get creative and make up your own form factors.

The Airblock is Makeblock’s fourth Kickstarter campaign, and it has since been fully funded.

You can control the Airblock using a mobile app, but you can test your programming skills on it as well and make it perform aerial routines or other maneuvers. This is done through drag-and-drop programming, where you can simply rearrange different commands like forward, pause, and turn in a chain of actions.

That said, the Airblock is partly an educational endeavor, and Makeblock hopes it will spur interest in programming and help hone logical thinking and problem solving skills in children.

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