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The kit that lets you turn household objects into drones

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Drones are amazing machines that fly with a level of precision and silence that make them as beautiful as they are lethal. But the power to turn things into drones has been relatively untapped.

Dutch independent artist and programming hobbyist Jasper van Loenen has created a slim, stainless-steel briefcase that can float anything from a book to a boogie board with a few turns of the screw. The “Drone It Yourself” kit utilizes four motors and a CPU control kit that affixes to any household object — and then flies it like an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

The kit was developed with a 3D printer and consists of a small bill of materials, which (along with the printable part files) Lonen has posted on his website for those who desire to mimic and tweak his original plans.

Drones have been a hot topic in both technological and political discussions, and the open-source drone-development community is booming with so many hackers that the nonprofit sector of the Dayton Development Coalition entered into a partnership with NASA to conduct a $1.5 million competition that invites makers to create an efficient and tech-forward drone.

The brains of the “Drone It Yourself” system run on an OpenPilot flight controller, making the entire kit, from soup to nuts, completely open source and therefore free. There’s also no soldering or heavy machinery involved in creating the components for the kit — so it requires no technical know-how to execute. The kit itself simply clamps on to any object with a simple vice mechanism, and is able to work with anything that it can grasp. The result is flying objects of all shapes and sizes — which obviously vary in flight complexity.

Check out the kit in action below:

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While this particular drone won’t necessarily fit in tight spaces or make it to space, it offers a cheap and effective way for makers to enter into the development of UAVs without pouring money into an expensive modeling kit.