Arie Sibonney is a designer, inventor, and entrepreneur who co-founded Marvellous Items, in 1999. What started as a small Startup quickly blossomed into an award-winning international business. Marvellous Items Inc and the entire team’s dedication led the company’s items to be featured on Oprah and in Oprah’s Favorite Things. The company’s most recent technology driven endeavors have led them to focus on the S.T.E.M. field.

One of Marvellous Item’s most recent creations is Flyblocks, featuring a “DIY 4-in-1 Build N’ Fly Drone.” Similar to Lego’s mini drone series and the Radio Shack “DIY Drone Kit,” Flyblocks enables users to become the technician, engineer, and pilot by building one of four different robotic drone models.

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While there are other DIY drones available on the market, Arie wanted to pay special attention to the technological aspects of building and to program the affordable machine, which makes the FlyBlocks drone ideal for both beginners and experts.

Arie recently discussed his career as a product creator and entrepreneur via an exclusive interview.

Technology, design, and drones

Meagan Meehan (MM): What prompted you to get into the field of technological design and why did you focus on drones?

Arie Sibonney (AS): I have always been fascinated by the latest emerging technology surrounding drones. As one of the first owners of the DJI Phantom in early 2010, my passion for drones quickly turned from a hobby into a business. Paying slightly over $1,800 for my first drone, it struck me to incorporate affordable drones into an already thriving online business. At that point, I was searching for affordable drones that would bring in a broader based and younger clientele. With Marvellous Item’s launch of the Pilot 360, Nibiru XR-1 and a variety of other entry level drones in 2012, we have had our finger on the pulse and have been developing drones ever since.

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MM: What led you to create this drone and how did you design it differently from other DIY models?

AS: Even the most basic DIY drone kits available on the market are expensive, requiring in-depth engineering knowledge, offer little to no innovation and call for additional equipment. The FlyBlocks drone offers all the parts a consumer needs including the remote control, propellers, motors and individual pieces. We designed it, so there are no additional accessories required. FlyBlocks provides instructions to build four different drone models in one kit, from four to six motors with different configurations to meet any skill level! In addition to the technology implemented, the qualities FlyBlocks’ parts offer are unparalleled. The 4-in-1 DIY Build N’ Fly drone is affordably priced at $59.95 with fast and free shipping across the USA.

MM: Your drone set can create four different models, so why did you decide to give builders so many options and do you have a personal favorite?

AS: Practice makes perfect and variety is the spice of life! Marvellous Items is dedicated to providing our customers with tremendous value and fun.

As a STEM focused organization, we want to ensure that consumers get the most out of their FlyBlocks drone. As a very experienced drone pilot, I absolutely love building and flying our six motor drones. They are really fun to handle, and they look awesome!

MM: How long did this take to complete from beginning to end and did you have any difficulties producing it?

AS: FlyBlocks took approximately one year from concept to creation, to being ready for the market. The most challenging elements were creating the custom parts that are fully compatible with most standard building blocks. We had a blast creating, building, flying and crashing a variety of models. The drone had to be perfectly balanced for stable flight, look great and of course be fully functional providing customers with an exceptional user experience.

MM: How important do you think building/construction toys are for children and were you inspired by such toys as a child?

AS: Building and construction toys play a huge role in the development of children by stimulating their minds and challenging them in ways video games and iPads can’t. What better way to learn than combining the elements of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – all while making it fun and engaging! The technology was hard to come by in the early 1970s, so I grew up playing with Lego, puzzles, and building models. I am personally envious that FlyBlocks was not around when I was a kid. What could be more exciting and fulfilling than building a drone and actually bringing it to life by flying it fifty feet off the ground!

Experiences, inventions, and the future

MM: How do you envision the use of drones impacting daily life in the coming decade?

AS: There is no way around it: drones will be playing a much larger role in the not-so-distant future. Whether it will be receiving the same day Amazon delivery to your front lawn, or casually flying over traffic while commuting to work twenty years from now – drones and similar robotics are here to stay!

MM: What have been some of the greatest experiences you've had working as an inventor and what has fan feedback been like?

AS: Marvellous Items has been innovating and inventing products since the late 1990’s. I have enjoyed seeing our products on shelves worldwide from red carpet appearances to “Oprah’s Favourite Things.” It is always an honor when Marvellous Items products are recognized.

MM: What other inventions do you foresee yourself delving into shortly?

AS: With a strong focus on creating STEM related products, Marvellous Items is currently working with a variety of different technologies including solar, robotics, RC, etc. Stay tuned for the fun and smart accessory additions that will be geared at enhancing the FlyBlocks experience.

MM: What advice can you offer to aspiring inventors?

AS: An idea is not an invention, it’s just an idea. To bring an invention to life and make it a success, you need the right idea, the right people on your team and the resources to make it happen.