Blog Articles

Programming the Tello and Tello EDU Camera with DroneBlocks

November 3, 2020 — 2 minutes

One of the biggest challenges we’ve had to overcome is displaying Tello’s video stream on iOS and Android. If you look at the SDK documentation you’ll see that it’s really easy to enable the video stream. You send a “streamon” command over UDP and Tello immediately starts streaming video data on port 11111 back to the host. On desktop it’s straightforward to decode Tello’s video stream and here is an example where I was able to do it with less than 100 lines of code:

We’ve also covered how to do this in several DroneBlocks courses such as this one:

OpenCV, Python, and DroneBlocks for Tello Camera Control

But the real challenge comes down to making this video stream available on mobile. I’ll spare you from all the technical details, but we are excited to announce that we now have the video stream available in DroneBlocks for iOS! Not only will you be able to see Tello’s FPV view, but you can move the video window around as well as enlarge it. Here is an example of how that works:

In addition to gaining access to Tello (and Tello EDU’s) camera stream we’ve also introduced two new blocks:

  • take photo

  • take X photos with Y sec interval

The first block should be self-explanatory, but for the second block you can shoot photos on an interval. For example let’s say that you have “take 3 photos with 4 sec interval” as the inputs to your photo interval block. This tells your DroneBlocks mission code to take a photo every 4 seconds and repeat the process 3 times. So you end up with 3 photos with a 4 second delay between each photo. You could certainly achieve the same effect with a loop, photo, and hover block, but the beautiful thing about programming is there is always more than one way to accomplish a task!

You can see the new blocks below in a sample panorama mission. I won’t tell you what the code does and hopefully you can read it to understand what is going on 🙂

If you’d like to give the mission a try, or modify any of the code, you can do so by accessing it here:

DroneBlocks Tello Pano Mission Example

We hope you enjoy this exciting new update and we look forward to seeing what you come up with. Internally we are currently discussing adding new video blocks for iOS as well as bringing video capabilities to both Android and Desktop versions of DroneBlocks. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but in the meantime we hope you enjoy what we’ve delivered and be sure to check out all the curriculum that goes along with the DroneBlocks App.

Thanks and until next time, happy coding and flying!

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