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?
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?
Discussion is taking place on the Hackupy-discuss list.