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Step 1. Design & build a fleet of OccuCopters

Step 2. ????

Step 3. Freedom!


There is a clear and urgent need for citizen-controlled aerial observation devices. Such devices would greatly extend the reach of citizen journalism, make it easier to obtain high-resolution photos for more accurate and openly verifiable crowd estimates, to better document (and even help to deter) incidents of police brutality, and much more.

An increasingly wide variety of commercial UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicle) already exist, many of which are capable of streaming video. However the price of such devices currently remains prohibitively high, and deters their use in situations where the UAV may be damaged, either accidentally (due to the challenges of navigating an urban environment) or intentionally (by police or others who might wish to go unobserved). For these devices to become truly useful, it is essential that more affordable, DIY options be made available. Designing an easily-replicable sub-$200 OccuCopter would be a significant breakthrough.

Noisebridge's OccuCopter / OccuBlimp project is a global collaboration, open to all who wish to contribute. There is a great deal of prior art on this topic, as the subject of R/C (radio-controlled) helicopters, n-copters, blimps and planes is far from new. It is our hope however that this specific project work towards the immediate goal of completing a range of currently implementable designs, then fabricating them,and helping to get them out into the streets where they are needed. We need to take citizen journalism into the air, and we need to do so now. Will you help?

Next Steps[edit]

Feel free to create an account here on the Noisebridge wiki and start editing and adding to this page as needed!

Also, there are multiple forum discussions currently taking place regarding this project, in a variety of splintered places: private email lists, public email lists, Twitter and elsewhere. While such separation may be necessary in certain cases (for privacy, or efficiency of small-team collaboration) better integration and sharing of research is also needed. Coming up with a good solution for where and how to plan and collaborate regarding this project should therefore likely be the first priority. (Obviously, a wiki is a crap place for discussion, unfortunately.) Suggestions, anyone?

I think wiki is the best place for discussions ~~ MarkDilley


Hackupy-discuss list

Desired Features[edit]

  • internal position hold features via gryo+gps
  • Wifi bridge networked camera
  • camera gimbals vs. fixed
  • flight time

Cost Requirements and Feasibility[edit]

  • $200
  • AR.Drone
  • $154.24 + shipping tricopter build, can carry at least an average smartphone + go-pro camera[1]
    • youtube [2]
    • kk-board $32 [3]
    • Three motors $34.80 [4]
    • Three ESCs $35.70 [5]
    • 2200mAh battery $7.99 [6]
    • Control Servo $20.48 [7]
    • Three Props, $17.28
    • RX, 5.99 [8]

Uplink/Downlink Requirements[edit]

  • It might be a good idea to use less common, less crowded bands for control and downlink (0.4, 0.9, 1.2, 1.3, 5.8 GHz), i.e. *not* 2.4GHz if at all possible.
  • Telemetry
  • Video
  • Command interface



  • flone Open source hardware quadcopter. Pilot via opensource android app. Laser cutted in wood. English instructions on instructables.
  • Accelerometer based smartphone bluetooth RC
  • Under $40 Gyro
  • Small camera servo mount
  • Servo cam pan/tilt
  • Android webcam server
  • forum here: 524 threads, 3.6k posts HeliFreak > R/C Helicopters > Aerial Videography and Photography [10]
  • Arducopter - existing code base for UAV command and control [11]
  • Paparazzi - Arducopter (fork?)[12]
  • DIYDrones [13]
  • MikroKopter [14]
  • UAVP-NG "next generation universal aerial video platform" [15]


Notes in Slovak/Czech on building the quadcopter from Progressbar / Slovak hackerspace member: [16]

notes on oakland occucopter build, see twitter @occucopter, as well as running email thread on the list: summarized here:

-Electronics: AeroQuad based platform using ArduinoMega. direct control from single 'pilot' using conventional RC airplane equipment. 
-Electricals: 12 ga wire, 4x Turnigy 2207-26 Motors (Good motor, wacky design), and 4x Turnigy AE-30A ESC <- BAD PART DO NOT BUY!!!
-Batteries: 3x Turnigy LiPo 3s 25C-35C 2200mAh 
-Frame: 3/4" aluminum box tube, milled billet aluminum crux piece, aluminum perf cradles for electronics, batteries, and camera mount. angle aluminum uprights for rollover protection and landing gear. 
-Streaming camera: currently, my hateful sidekick4g. - discussing getting a GoPro HD and streaming from the video out on that, to a RF transmitter to reciever, to capture card in a laptop. Will test this friday. 
-Propellers: Aeroquad.com 10x4.5 (ten inches across), discussing upgrade to 12 or even 14's for extra stability and payload capacity
-Current weight ~1.5kg (100% guestimate, no good scale until this weekend). width: 28" motor-to-motor, 38" wingtip to wingtip. 
current goals: 
. get it flying.
. learn to fly it reliably.
. get aerial footage on the tubes
. rebuild the frame to drop  weight and increase payload capaicty
. improve capture and streaming abilitites
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