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Waipahu High Students Build Aerial Quadcopter

Students at Waipahu High School are making the most of their UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) class and plan to take aerial photographs of their school to put on Google Earth.

The eight students – Shaira Espiritu, Hollis Faamoana, Crystel Joy Lagan, Mar Anthony Magsayo, Aldruin Micua, Juanito Moises, Pollyanna Slik and Reizel Yusi – along with instructor Moxey Lucas, created the UAV quadcopter, a remote-controlled aircraft that has a camera and video camera, along with four legs and four motors.


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Waipahu High’s UAV

Flight plans are programmed into the UAV quad-copter, and the students plot out the flight missions during class and analyze the aerial photography the UAV brings back.

“The quadcopter is able to take aerial photography by us putting the camera on it and planning a mission area where we want to take pictures,” Lagan further explained. “The camera will take pictures of the assigned areas every two seconds, and that is how we collect the different pictures. We just put it together to make the full image of the area.”

Students stitch the pictures together by using the Microsoft ICE program.

“We chose to put the aerial photography on Google Earth because it has better quality and a higher resolution,” Lagan said. “If you zoom in to our aerial photography, the images look sharper than Google Earth.”

Through this class, the students have learned how to solder wires and chips, put materials together to create the UAV quadcopter, and plan flights using Arduino, a type of mini computer that processes input and output signals between the UAV quad-copter and external components.

While this all sounds like a lot of work, the students enjoy it.

“We got to learn how to build a UAV, how to plan the flights and how to communicate with each other in class,” Lagan said.

“And the flying part is cool because it can fly on its own through the waypoints that we input on the Arduino.”

Plus, the students want to share their creation and knowledge with the community.

“We think that the community will be interested in the quadcopter because it can be used to observe an event that is happening in the community,” Lagan explained, “and it has a good quality of taking images, like the overview of the different (locations).”