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Hex: an open-source, smartphone-controlled copter for just US$50

Ever wanted a quad- or hexacopter of your very own? Hex is a super-cool build-it-yourself kit for a quadcopter you can control with your smartphone.

(Credit: Benjamin Black)

Ever wanted a quad- or hexacopter of your very own? Hex is a super-cool build-it-yourself kit for a quadcopter you can control with your smartphone.

Copters are officially the best RC toy of our time, but a simple off-the-shelf model runs into the hundreds of dollars. A team of creators from around the globe is making them accessible to pretty much anyone with a 3D-printed build-it-yourself copter kit.

Called Hex, it is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter in two flavours: a quadcopter for US$49 and a hexacopter for US$69. The palm-sized copters are open-source Arduino compatible, too, for those who like to tinker around with hacking things.

"The autopilot system of Hex allows it to auto-balance itself in mid-air," the team said, "But if you are creative, the same circuit board can be used to balance other devices, such as a two-wheeled robot car, fixed-wing aircrafts, camera gimbals, submarines, etc."

Each Hex snaps together without glue or solder, and you can then customise its body however you like (we'd caution to remember that the point of a copter is to get airborne, so weighing it down with googly eyes is probably not the best plan).

(Credit: Benjamin Black)

Its ease of use isn't limited to the device: using an app for iOS and Android, you can control your Hex via Bluetooth using different types of controls — virtual joysticks or gyroscopic, moving your phone or tablet to move the copter.

And, if you have a bit more cash to throw around, you can get a Hex-ready Wi-Fi camera (US$149), or a 5.8GHz video transmitter and FPV goggles (US$469).

Hex is estimated to ship in December this year. Head on over to the Hex Kickstarter project page to learn more and support the project.