DJI (famous for its drones and the Phantom line) and Canonical (famous for the Ubuntu Linux distro), have teamed up to create Manifold – an itty bitty PC made to be stuck on a drone.

The Manifold is intended to be added to existing drones to give them a huge bump in processing power and capabilities. Under the hood the Mafnifold packs some decent hardware.

Manifold Specs:

  • CPU: RM Cortex-A15.
  • GPU:  NVIDIA Tegra K1.
  • Size: 11 cm x 11 cm x 2.6 cm.
  • Weight: 200 grams.
  • Peak power consumption: ~15 W.
  • Ports: SB, Ethernet, Mini-PCIe, HDMI, UART, SPI and I2C ports.
  • Software: Ubuntu 14.04 Long Term Support version with DJI Onboard SDK.
  • United States sale price: $499 (R6 884).

The unusual part of the above is the addition of a graphics processing unit (GPU). These are usually used to render graphical content, such as games, but DJI claims that it will help your drone process high resolution imagery and even artificial intelligence. Regardless, it opens up developer options such as DirectX and OpenGL.

And a developer product the Manifold most surely is. At present the computer is only intended to be used with DJI’s Matrice 100 drone. Think of the Matric as a flying test bench – a developer platform that is made to be tinkered with.

Although DJI products are officially available in South Africa, the developer products (like the Manifold and Matrice 100) are much harder to come by. We’ll let you know if they become available in any local stores.

[Source – TechCrunch]