What you're about to see will make your inner Star Wars-obsessed child amazed.
Adam Woodworth is a lifelong aviation nut who studied aerospace engineering at MIT and has been flying radio-controlled gadgets since he was a kid. Woodworth is also a hardware engineer at Google, and he recently modified a 16-year-old Star Wars toy so that it would look and work like a quadcopter. But not just any quadcopter; a speeder bike quadcopter.
The speeder bike, which is technically called the 74-Z speeder bike and sometimes referred to as the Imperial speeder bike, is mostly recognised as a fictional vehicle used by scout stormtroopers of the Galactic Empire for rapid transportation in combat zones. They're controlled by handlebars located toward the front, while foot pedals underneath adjust speed and altitude.
Woodworth, while writing for Makezine.com, said he got into first-person video, multi-rotor racing a few months ago, and that low-level racing subsequently reminded him of the Endor chase scene from the Star Wars film Return of the Jedi. He then decided to combine his experience in remote-control flight with his love of Star Wars by building a real-life version of the Imperial speeder bike from the epic space opera.
For the body of his project, he found Hasbro's 12-inch Power of The Force series speeder bike from 1999. He then used CAD to design a layout of four 7-inch rotors driven by 880kv 28mm motors, which spun 3-bladed propellers running on a 14.4v 2200mAh Lipo. The bike also featured 10mm carbon tubes for booms, stick mount-style motor mounts, angled autopilot and rotors, and control provided by a 3DRobotics PixHawk.
Woodworth even made a new and lighter stormtrooper skeleton out of pipe cleaners, old Nerf darts, and 6mm carbon tube runs. He also swapped into the stormtrooper's helmet a first-person video camera mounted to a styrofoam ball. Woodworth said it was a combination camera/video transmitter unit sold by Spektrum, and he used that in conjunction with FatShark Dominator video goggles and security camera DVR.
Watch the video to see the final result. Woodworth was able to fly his speeder bike around, which is something amazing to watch. It almost looks unreal. He's also has a Luke version in the works in order to do some racing through the trees. Okay, we're officially jealous now.