Back in January, Shenzhen startup Ryze Tech launched the tiny Tello drone with some help from Intel and DJI.
The original Tello was just $99 and marketed towards beginners and educational institutions. The Tello has obstacle avoidance tech, a camera and several autonomous functions. In part that’s down to the contribution of Intel’s Movidius vision processing unit (VPU) and DJI’s flight stabilization technology.
The new Tello EDU
The latest iteration from Ryze Tech looks to take things one step further…
According to Ryze Tech, the Tello EDU “expands the educational opportunities” for the product range. This comes in the form of support for additional programming languages and – yes, really – drone swarms.
Which sounds pretty cool.
The original Tello has received plenty of acclaim for being both ideal for beginners and incredibly affordable. Ryze says that combination has helped it gain traction in classrooms and STEM camps, where it provides a fun way to learn about physics, engineering, and computer programming.
Drobots and Droneblocks are two organizations that have been using Tello in STEM camps and school programs across the US.
Users can program Tello EDU with Scratch, Swift, and Python, so there are options for beginners and advanced coders. The package comes with four Mission Pads – physical waypoints the drone can recognize and respond to. Users can access the video stream and discover more advanced controls – including basic gesture controls – by coding.
If that all sounds a little serious, there’s still plenty of room for fun. As well as having a built-in HD camera, Tello EDU has different flying modes and the ability to perform flips and tricks. An accompanying app also comes with virtual missions to challenge young minds.
“Tello is an amazing way to get kids energized about learning,” says Robert Elwood, CEO of Drobots, who used Tello as part of his company’s STEM summer camps. “It’s safe, affordable, and accessible, yet it’s also powerful and fun. As an educator, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Tello EDU will take things to the next level.”
“Teachers and students have been using our app to code missions for Tello with drag-and-drop languages like Scratch,” said Dennis Baldwin, founder of DroneBlocks. Hundreds of schools across the US have already used DroneBlocks to get Tello into the classroom. “We’re really excited about the world of possibilities that will open up with coding languages like Python and Swift. And we are creating a new course just for Tello EDU. ”
Creating a swarm
It’s easy to imagine a classroom full of kids being inspired by the sight of a swarm of drones flying as one. Intel’s light shows harness that same sense of awe, so maybe STEM teachers can too.
Tello EDU users can program a swarm of multiple drones. The swarm can perform synchronized missions or execute complex choreography. The package’s Mission Pads are vital, ensuring the drones understand their location and react to commands accordingly.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with Ryze and to see the evolution of the Tello series,” said Mario Rebello, Vice President & Country Manager, North America at DJI. “We believe there is a huge opportunity to get more kids interested in science, engineering, technology and math. Drones and robotics let kids mix programming and play.”
“We have seen Tello emerge as a powerful option for bringing STEM education into and outside classrooms around the world,” said Brian Gonzalez, General Manager, Global Education Sector, Intel Corporation. “The combination of new coding languages and advanced software features in Tello EDU is only going to enhance the possibilities for drones and computational thinking in education.”
How much does the Tello EDU cost?
So what comes in the package? Each Tellu EDU comes with the drone, 2 sets of spare propellers, 4 Mission Pads, 1 battery, and a USB charging cable. It’s compatible with the GameSir T1d Bluetooth remote, which is sold separately in the DJI store.
The original Tello made a splash by landing at the bottom end of the market for just $99. The iteration doesn’t break the bank either, despite its new features.
If you’re looking to buy in the U.S., the new drone will retail for $129. It’s available starting today in the DJI store, the Apple store and in selected Apple stores around the globe.
Tello EDU will retail in the UK at £139 and across Europe at €159.