Tom Wilke pulled goggles down over his face and became the pilot of a tiny robot.
The countdown ended and drones' blades spun. With three other pilots, all peering through cameras built onto the machines, Wilke's drone leaped from the starting pedestal and the race was on.
The controller in his hands adjusted for pitch and yaw and speed, sending the four-rotor robot whizzing up and around a racecourse. The quadcopter buzzed — blink once and it was gone.