Video: Chris Anderson talks drones, Makers and the next Industrial Revolution

Earlier this month, 3D Robotics CEO Chris Anderson took center stage at ARM TechCon 2014 to share his journey from mere Maker to mass market, highlighting unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), robotics, and of course, the “Next Industrial Revolution.”


During his 40-minute keynote presentation, the former WIRED editor-in-chief shared his original “flying robot” (or, a Lego autopilot), as well as reasons for establishing a social network catered to those looking to experiment with autonomous aircraft.

“I didn’t know what the big thing was. And so, I created a website specifically to ask dumb questions in public,” Anderson explained. “Great things happens when you ask dumb questions in public. First, people answer your dumb questions, and second, it liberates people to ask their own dumb questions.”

Shortly thereafter, the DIY drone community — many of which powered by AVR MCUs — began to experience tremendous growth. For those who still need convincing that DIY drones are set to soar, Anderson revealed that DIY drone community is 60,000+ strong with over 2 million page views per month, 10,000 blog posts, and 150,000 comments per year.

“I was stunned first time I used the web. The same thing happened when I made my first drone.”


According to Anderson, 2007 was a pivotal year in taking making mainstream. This was the time when “everyone was walking up…” as hints of it were seen in WiFi controllers, Lego Mindstorms, Atmel based Arduino and RepRap printers, and other elements of the modern-day Maker Movement.

Anderson shared his thoughts at that time, “There’s something going on here. I’m not sure what it is but I got to be a part of it.”


“It later turned out what that something was was basically a convergence…. a democratization of technologies like MEMS sensors, ARM processors, etc. Suddenly things that were expensive got cheap, things that were hard got easy, things that were closed became open.”

This led to the boom of Internet of Things, wearable tech and other markets connecting once-ordinary objects to the web.

Chris even reminisced the days of 2009 with the debut of Blimpduino, a “company” he launched with his children on the weekend. Despite not actually being an operating business, BlimpDuino was a very low-cost open-source autonomous blimp consisting of an Arduino-based blimp controller board with on-board infrared and ultrasonic sensors.


From there, Anderson took the audience through his progression from prototype to mass production — with the formation of 3D Robotics and his latest ventures.

Intrigued? You can tune-in to his entire session below!


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