Episode 115

DroneBlocks with Dennis Baldwin

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About this Episode

In this captivating episode of Teaching Python, Kelly and Sean sit down with the innovative mind behind DroneBlocks.io, Dennis Baldwin. As a child, Dennis was deeply fascinated with remote control cars and airplanes. That childhood passion translated into a profound interest in engineering, as he delved deep into the intricate world of building, wiring, and programming flight controllers for his RC planes and quadcopters. Alongside, Dennis maintained an active presence on YouTube, making sure to share a majority of his research, development, and findings with an eager audience.

2010 marked a pivotal year for Dennis when he discovered the ArduPilot project and was deeply inspired by the dynamic developer community that supported it. This newfound inspiration set him on a journey of countless hours in the garage, experimenting and constructing a myriad of autonomous drones. This includes everything from hexacopters and VTOL aircraft to delta wings and mini quads, leveraging APM and Pixhawk flight controllers. 2014 saw him crossing paths with Marisa at Walnut Springs Elementary School in Dripping Springs, TX. A chance collaboration led to Dennis introducing students to the wonders of quadcopters, which further transitioned to the integration of DJI SDK upon students' intrigue in aerial photography.

Fast forward to 2015, Dennis established a groundbreaking conceptβ€”melding block programming with the DJI SDK. This innovation birthed DroneBlocks, a platform cherished by students for its intuitive approach to conducting autonomous missions with DJI hardware. Today, DroneBlocks boasts an app, a comprehensive curriculum, and an ever-growing community of users sharing their mission code globally. As a graduate from The Citadel with a BS in Electrical Engineering and with a rich history of co-founding multiple tech ventures, Dennis, along with Marisa, aspires to integrate DroneBlocks into every STEAM classroom across the world. Tune in and soar with us on this incredible journey of passion, innovation, and educational revolution.

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Episode Links

  • DroneBlocks App & Curriculum - Learn to Code with Drones! — DroneBlocks teaches STEM and the real-world application of drones, robots, and sensor technology through our apps, drone coding curriculum, simulator, and professional development.
  • DroneBlocks Robo-Dog GO1 - Classroom Bundle β€” DroneBlocks — The DroneBlocks GO1 EDU+ bundle comes pre-equipped with two onboard Jetson Nanos and one onboard Jetson NX, this increased processing power gives you the capability of adding Lidar units in the future.
  • ArduPilot - Versatile, Trusted, Open — ArduPilot is a trusted, versatile, and open source autopilot system supporting many vehicle types: multi-copters, traditional helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, boats, submarines, rovers and more. The source code is developed by a large community of professionals and enthusiasts.
  • Dennis Baldwin - YouTube — I'm Dennis Baldwin, an electrical engineer by degree but fell in love with software engineering many years ago. I started building RC cars with my dad as a kid and now build UAVs (aka drones). I'm fascinated by the autonomous aspect of UAVs and spend a lot of time tinkering with Pixhawk and the APM code. Hopefully you learn something from my channel and hopefully I learn something from you as well. Thanks for tuning in.
  • DroneBlocks Curriculum — Check out the full set of Droneblocks courses online