I've been lurking on this site for a while, and figure it was time to finally say hello.

My company builds small video-enabled mobile robots for education and research. Some of our robot controllers were ending up airborne, so I started looking more closely at customer requirements, and ended up designing a new controller that was more suitable for UAV applications.

We just got our first production batch of boards 3 weeks ago (see http://www.surveyor.com/blackfin ), and I'm in process of integrating them into 3 different airframes ...

The first is a prototype fixed wing flier by Ken Hill, the second is a quad rotor from AscTec in Germany that I'm working on in cooperation with a lab at MIT, and the third is a prototype scaled coaxial fixed rotor VTOL based on the Hiller Flying Platform.

The quad will probably be the first for successful control by the processor - it's definitely the most stable of the lot. However, all three projects are interesting.

By the way, I'm located in San Luis Obispo, California, in case there are other participants or lurkers here who are local and want a closer look at these projects.

Howard

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Howard,

I am Hanu. I am forming a team of kids (10-16 year olds) with a goal to participate in areial robotics contests.
I am a software engineer by profiession and have some background in electronics.

Anyway, I would like to start and need guidance. How easy or difficult to introduce your technology to kids?
They have some idea about programming robots using Lego Mindstorms.

What kind of concepts they need to learn and what kind of pre-requesties that they should have before they emabrk on big projects?

I would appreciate any help in this direction.

Best Regards
Hanu
Hanu -

Perhaps you can provide a bit more background on the type of aerial robotics contents you have in mind. In any case, at the current state of the technology, this is probably college-level stuff, mostly because the sensors are a lot more complicated than what you minimally require for ground-based mobile robots.

If you don't have to deal with basic platform stability, it does get a lot easier. Chris Anderson wrote a white paper about this a few months ago that might help give you some perspective - http://diydrones.com/profiles/blog/show?id=705844%3ABlogPost%3A9089 . Using a blimp as a starting point will at least resolve the stability issues and minimize safety issues.

Howard

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