Breaking the 2D Gaming Barrier. Real-Life Aerial Gaming with a flick of the wrist. Fly it; Play it; Hack it.

Another UA Kickstarter project takes off, this one has the potential to change how military multicopters might be flown. An impressive total already, at the time of writing, 146 backers and $17,329 only $212,671 to go! Best of luck team, will be watching with interest.

This is not your ordinary quadcopter!

Our tilt-to-fly Mimix controller is so simple that flying becomes second nature. Now you can do other fun things with your friends like playing real-life, multi-player aerial games – indoors or out. Try doing that with any other palm-sized quadcopter!

Real-Life Gaming

Each NanoQ copter is equipped with an infrared (IR) “photon cannon” and an IR sensor pod. With a pull of the trigger, you unleash a photon burst at your opponent. If you hit their sensor pod you score.

Our first game will be multi-team dogfighting. You can select your team through the Mimix controller. The LEDs then display your team colors on both the NanoQ and the Mimix.

The red team getting shot with IR "photon cannons"
The red team getting shot with IR “photon cannons”

Multi-team Dogfighting Game Play

  • 1st Hit:  The NanoQ wobbles and the Mimix controller vibrates
  • 2nd Hit: The NanoQ’s power and performance are reduced
  • 3rd Hit: The NanoQ is forced to land for several seconds
  • To Win: Knock all opposing team copters out of the sky!

Future Games

Multi-team dogfighting is just the beginning. We’re developing even more games with ground targets that react with lights and sound when they’re hit. Advanced versions of the ground targets will include a digital radio so any number of targets can communicate together. In addition, proximity detectors can turn the ground targets into reloading stations, capture points, race pylons, and more. We want Kickstarter’s suggestions on what you would like to see for future games.

Testing the team color selection LED
Testing the team color selection LED

Mimix  Intuitive and Engaging

We designed Mimix from the ground up to provide an intuitive, exciting experience. No more two-handed flying. Tilt the Mimix controller forward, back, left, or right and the NanoQ copter responds just like you think it should; you feel engaged and in control.

Photograph of the latest Mimix controller
Photograph of the latest Mimix controller

Based on US Air Force Human Factors data for aircraft controls, the Mimixcontroller has an ergonomic design that was made for your hand, big or small. By using the latest sensors, radios, and processors, Mimix puts you in command with precise, crisp control.

Ergonomically designed to fit your hand
Ergonomically designed to fit your hand

In the Kickstarter video, the flying scenes show our 1st-generation Mimixprototype (the 3D printer had orange plastic in it that day). The final scene in the video shows our 2nd-gen Mimix prototype with its sleek ergonomic design that is hot off the 3D printer, sanded and painted (what looks to be a wire coming from the controller is actually a stand – Mimix is wireless).

NanoQ – Better by Design

What good is a controller with nothing to fly?  Our NanoQ copter is the perfect match for the tilt-based Mimix controller.  The NanoQ can move in any direction at any time, not just forward and backwards like some helicopters.

Photograph of the latest NanoQ prototype
Photograph of the latest NanoQ prototype

To increase efficiency, we took the traditional quad-rotor design and flipped it upside-down.  This also means the props don’t run into the ceiling and the motors don’t hit the floor.  Using high-speed electronic stabilization, the craft automatically adjusts 400 times per second to quickly react to your commands. Thanks to mass production of 3-axis gyros and accelerometers, we can now bring you an affordable product with this state-of-the-art high-speed electronic stabilization.

The NanoQ copter is designed to fly in small indoor areas, but powerful enough to fly outdoors. Due to the rugged, lightweight construction, and only 4 moving parts, the NanoQ is more durable than current helicopter models. A removable “snap on” ring protects the props when flying indoors. The end result – a design that is both more durable and more fun!

Disappointed by cheap RC helicopters at the store?

So were we!  They either broke or we got bored.  Here’s what sets our products apart:

  • Real-Life, Multi-player/Multi-team Aerial Gaming!
  • Robust Construction – you won’t be afraid to let your friends fly it
  • Independant Props for maneuverability
  • High-Speed Electronic Stabilization – easy to learn
  • No more AA’s! All batteries are rechargeable
  • Keep flying! The NanoQ batteries are swappable

The combination of these features gives you hours of fun…

Single handed control lets you fly the NanoQ copter right out of your hand
Single handed control lets you fly the NanoQ copter right out of your hand

A Better Flight Experience

The NanoQ was designed for easy flight right out of the box. The electronic stabilization system keeps the craft upright automatically. It ships in “Beginner Mode” to limit the craft’s speed and dynamics while you learn. When you’re ready, switch to advanced mode and the NanoQ will really show you what it can do.

By using digital radios to fly the NanoQ and IR signals for game play, we can achieve crisp flight control and accurate game response at the same time. This also allows us to simultaneously fly several NanoQs in the same space. This technology, together with team color selection on both the craft and controller, enables true multi-player team gaming.

Flying the NanoQ copter
Flying the NanoQ copter

How it works

Simply put, the NanoQ copter mimics the motion of the Mimix controller. We make this happen by sampling sensors in the controller that determine its orientation and sending those signals to the craft. The NanoQ copter uses an advanced data fusion algorithm to estimate its attitude compared to the signals from the Mimix controller. Then, the control system in the NanoQcopter sends high-rate adjustments to the four propellers to make the copter mimic your movements. Thrust and yaw are controlled through the top hat on the Mimix controller.

Photograph of the latest Mimix controller
Photograph of the latest Mimix controller


The NanoQ copter:

  • Size – 5.25” motor to motor
  • Weight – 35 grams
  • Battery – Replaceable, Rechargeable Lithium Polymer
  • Battery Charger – 2 port, USB compatible
  • Flight time – 8-10 minutes
  • Range – Up to 30 meters
  • Max Payload – 10 gram

The Mimix controller:

  • Ergonomically designed – for one-handed control
  • Works for right or left handed pilots, big or small
  • Battery – USB Rechargeable Lithium Polymer
  • Operating time – 3-4 hours

Hacking the NanoQ

The NanoQ uses an open communications protocol. Connect your computer up to the Mimix through the USB port or optional USB RF dongle and you will be able to communicate wirelessly with the NanoQ to:

  • Tweak the control parameters
  • Update the NanoQ firmware
  • Send control commands directly from a laptop
  • Send customized signals out of the IR transmitter
  • Receive craft telemetry such as attitude, control commands, and even raw sensor data

You can even connect your own electronics payload, like an Arduino, camera, or homebrewed project to the auxiliary serial (UART + power) port on theNanoQ.

There will be a developer’s forum on our website where everyone can share in all your achievements. Let everyone see what you can do!

Who we are

QFO Labs team looking like we're working
QFO Labs team looking like we’re working

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, QFO Labs is a small team of people dedicated to bringing high-tech, innovative new products to market. Our skills include Electrical Engineering, Software Development, Estimation and Control Systems, Material Science, Product Management, and Intellectual Property Management. Our team first met through a New Product Development course at the University of Minnesota in 2007. We have a broad range of experience in areas such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Manufacturing Process Improvement, Medical Device Design, and even running a science museum.

This product is just the beginning.  Over time we plan to introduce a series of products for real-life 3D gaming.  Beyond gaming, our team has many more ideas about what to do with the technology behind the Mimix and NanoQ.

Project Status

We’ve been developing and perfecting our remote control quadcopters for more than 5 years. The Mimix controller and NanoQ copter that you see in the video and pictures are real, working prototypes. We are finishing the Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA) and will soon be releasing both Mimix and NanoQ to manufacturing. We have developed relationships with vendors and obtained quotes for production quantities of our electronic components. Currently, we are obtaining quotes for the electronic assembly of the PCBs, the tooling for injection molding and vacuum forming, and the final assembly and packaging of our products. We are planning on final assembly and testing in North America, which will allow us to be closer to and more involved with the process.

Using the latest CAD tools ensures fit, form, and function
Using the latest CAD tools ensures fit, form, and function

With your support, we can get Mimix and NanoQ off the ground and into your hands, literally. While we’re close to entering production, your contribution will let us bring this product to market.

Here’s a breakdown of what we will use the $230,000 for:

  • Production Tooling: $60K
  • Award Fulfillment/Component Order: $110K
  • Certifications for CE, FCC, UL, etc.: $37K
  • Kickstarter/Amazon Fees: $23K

Our first scheduled ship date is March of 2013, which is based on our current estimates for manufacturing using the longest lead times for certain components.  In the meantime, we will keep you updated on our progress and look forward to your input and suggestions.

Reward Level Details

The Standard Package:

  • 1 NanoQ Copter, Standard Color
  • 1 Mimix Controller
  • 2 Rechargeable batteries, Lithium Polymer
  • 1 Battery Charger, 2-port, USB Powered
  • 1 USB Cable

The Premium Package:

  • 1 NanoQ Copter
  • 1 Kickstarter Exclusive Cover
  • 3 Replacement NanoQ Covers, Standard Colors
  • 1 Mimix Controller
  • 1 Carrying Case
  • 3 Rechargeable Batteries, Lithium Polymer
  • 1 Battery Charger, 2-port, USB Powered
  • 1 USB Cable

The Hacker Package:

  • 1 NanoQ Copter
  • 1 Kickstarter Exclusive Cover
  • 1 Hacker Exclusive Cover
  • 3 Replacement NanoQ Covers, Standard Colors
  • 1 Mimix Controller
  • 1 USB Communications Dongle
  • 1 NanoQ Cable, USART + Power
  • 1 NanoQ RF Protocol Software and Documentation Set
  • 1 Aerial Gaming IR Receiver Electronics Kit
  • 1 Carrying Case
  • 3 Rechargeable Batteries, Lithium Polymer
  • 1 Battery Charger, 2-port, USB Powered
  • 1 USB Cable
  • 1 Special Edition QFO Hacker T-Shirt

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