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This Lynchpin Contest drone has astonishing flight abilities

We always enjoy coming across a drone that has new capabilities. And we’ve never seen a drone like this one.

A friend sent a text. Check out this video, it said. There was a YouTube link. I clicked. A weird-looking drone popped into view. But then that drone began doing things that appeared nearly impossible. It was rolling while maintaining position. It was flying in ways I’d never before seen – so it clearly had my attention.

In a moment, I think it will have yours.

This drone is a contest entry

There’s a pretty heady drone contest underway. But it isn’t about speed or range. It’s about making a drone fly in a way drones haven’t previously flown. It’s called the Lynchpin Contest. And, to be honest, it’s not immediately easy to understand. In fact, I’m still not sure I understand it – but here’s a video that kind of explains what it’s about. Unfortunately, it has been set so that it won’t embed, so you’ll have to watch directly on YouTube.

The contest delves into concepts of space-time. Wild, and worth $25k!

Thankfully, there’s some written information on the contest page.

The goal of the Lynchpin Drone Contest is to create a software and hardware system that allows a “Lynchpin Drone” to fly. The Lynchpin Drone must be able to rotate into any orientation while maintaining position. The Lynchpin Drone must be able to move in any direction regardless of its orientation. The pilot must have control of orientation and position. Control of orientation and position must be independent (for example, the control “ascend” will always move the drone upwards relative to gravity, even if the drone is “upside down”). The Lynchpin Drone may be flown in full acro mode. It is not required to have autonomous flight capabilities such as position hold and altitude hold.

Lynchpin Contest Website

Sounds almost impossible, right?

It sure does. But there’s a brilliant guy out there who had an idea. Using the Arduino-based ArduCopter flight controller, YouTube user MrIamPete managed to build and tweak something truly extraordinary. He calls it the OmniCopter.

And here it is, in flight:

To quote a very old television program: “That’s Incredible!”

The prize is substantial

You have to jump through a few hoops. These are the entry stages, taken directly from the contest page:

  • One complete, flying Lynchpin Drone, including all supporting hardware required to make the Drone fulfill the requirements of the contest.
  • Source code of all software required to make the Drone fulfill the requirements of the contest.
  • An “introductory video”
  • An “entry video”

The hardest part here, of course, is building the drone. Scratch that – the hardest part is conceptualizing exactly how it could be built.

I’m no judge, but I’d say MrIamPete has a pretty good chance at $25k. And, we’re guessing, a future in drone design. The Runner-up will get $10k.