Icarus - First Person View Drone Racing Headset
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The Icarus Headset
 
The Icarus headset is one part of the Icarus first person view (FPV) drone racing kit, a consumer ready kit that enables a mass market to create their own FPV drone racing experience.
 
The Icarus headset with its internal locking mechanism will hold most smartphone models.  The visual feed captured by two front mounted cameras on the drone is sent via Wifi signal to the smartphone, where the stereoscopic video feeds are displayed.  The headset combines and focuses the stereoscopic feed to create an immersive 3D FPV perspective that feels like you are piloting the drone through the cockpit.  The video feed can be shared with other smartphones and directly streamed to YouTube where spectators can watch.
 
The Icarus First Person View Drone Racing Kit
 
First person view drone racing is currently reserved for those who have experience and knowledge of remote control planes, cars and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  Drone culture and FPV racing is becoming increasingly popular, drawing in users with little to no experience in piloting UAVs.  However, it is an expensive sport that requires a good understanding of mechanical and electronic engineering.  Also, due to the size, weight and speed at which drones travel, it can be a very dangerous sport with potential to cause serious injury, damage and even death.   
 
The Icarus FPV drone racing kit is designed to resolve the main issues that are:
 
·         safety
·         affordability
·         ease of use
 
The Icarus drone itself is reduced in size, weight and power so that any collision causes minimal to no harm.  It can be compared to being hit by a sharp rock travelling at 50mph or being struck by a frisbee travelling at 30mph.
The components that make up the kit are stripped back of any technology that does not contribute directly to an immersive FPV racing experience.  The normal FPV goggles have been replaced with the headset that will hold most modern smartphones.
 
The kit comes with everything needed for FPV drone racing; the drone, the controller, the headset, batteries and charger, and marker cones.  The drone easily connects with the controller unit and smartphone with no need for any additional purchases.  The course markers are used to map out the physical course and augmented visual overlays are used to help pilots navigate.  The markers are used to track drone positions and lap times.
Concept sketching and final model sketching.
Elasticated Bands or Arms?
 
During the development stages of the Icarus headset, it was important to understand what felt more comfortable for the user to wear, an elasticated strap or spring loaded arms?
After trialling early prototypes on numerous potential users aged between 20 and 35, the data was collected and analysed.  Based on user feedback, the elasticated band provided better comfort and a more secure fit.
Many users reported that the headset with traditional arms felt less secure and as though it might slip down the bridge of their nose.  Users expressed the need to feel confident that their smartphone was safe and would not be damaged.  Concerned that the headset with the arms may slip down the nose and potentially fall from the users head rendered this option as no longer viable.
A prototyping timeline - form and fit.
The Internal Frame & Locking Mechanism
 
Very much like the Pincraft camera, the Icarus headset was designed from the inside outwards.  As the immersive experience relies on clear visuals, the optimum focal length must be carefully calculated and maintained during use.
The internal frame provides a solid foundation that enables the headset to function as intended while the outer case provides a darkened chamber and aesthetic appeal.
The locking mechanism is built into the frame and has undergone numerous revisions based on fit, functionality and ease of use.
Early testing for the internal locking mechanism.
The locking mechanism demonstration.
A component layout of the internal frame and locking mechanism.
The naked internal frame and locking mechanism.
Sand, P38, filler primer, repeat until smooth.
What first person view drone racing looks like through the Icarus Headset.