A helicopter is a big, heavy machine that needs lots of room to take off and land. But this guy really wanted a helicopter. So he built one out of lots of tiny toy helicopters called drones. Drones are remote-controlled spinny objects that carry things, not people. By strapping 54 of them to a frame, he made his own chopper that picks him right up off the ground! As we see and hear in the video, the drones together sound like a swarm of bees. They can fly on battery for 10 minutes — long enough take you to a lot of crazy places.
Wee ones: The blades on top of a helicopter spin. Spin yourself to the right. Now spin to the left!
Little kids: If the motor rotor uses drones, batteries, a frame, a chair, and an umbrella, how many types of parts is that? Bonus: How many of the 54 drones would he have to take away to have one for each of America’s 50 states?
Big kids: If the guy paid $100 for each of the 54 drones, does that cost more or less than a $500,000 helicopter? Bonus: In most sets of drones, half the propellers turn one way while the rest spin the other way. Of the 54 drones here, how many should spin clockwise?
Wee ones: Try spinning in each direction — without getting dizzy!
Little kids: 5 types of parts. Bonus: 4 drones.
Big kids: Much less: just $5,400. Bonus: 27 drones.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.