April 2008 Blog Posts (21)

3D Robotics
UAVs in the Smithsonian

From News.com:

"Starting last week, the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution is recognizing that 21st-century technology in an exhibition titled "Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles." Pictured here in the museum are three of the six… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 30, 2008 at 7:30pm — 4 Comments

3D Robotics
Another reason why my loyalties are shifting from Basic Stamp to Arduino

I was debugging some code on the Basic Stamp Autopilot this evening, trying to figure out why the navigation function isn't working right. The debug results were mystifying--variables that should have been +-128 were giving crazy values like 64526.

And then it hit me: The Basic Stamp doesn't really know the difference between an unsigned word variable (all 16 bits used) and a signed word (first bit is the +/- bit). You can adjust your debug displays to compensate for that (using SDEC… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 27, 2008 at 10:23pm — 11 Comments

3D Robotics
Autonomous blimp ("BlimpDuino") demo

This is a short demo of our "BlimpDuino", a toy RC blimp that has been turned into an autonomous aerial robot driven by an Arduino open source embedded processors. It uses an ultrasonic sensor to maintain altitude and IR sensors to detect a ground-based IR beacon. This demo just shows the blimp circling the beacon and maintaining altitude. Eventually this will become a <$70 modkit that… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 26, 2008 at 12:48pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Using a neural network to fly a heli

Jack Crossfire's daily updates on his autonomous helicopter project are alway fascinating, but today's is even more impressive than most. It describes how he uses a neural network to take the inputs from his acceleromters, gyros,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 25, 2008 at 8:23am — 7 Comments

Text painting using the full frame camera & autopilot

Have beaten the light painting algorithm to death. These are movies of some words being painted by autopilot. The 35mm sensor captures the entire flight from underneath. Then the flight recording is shown in Google Earth.

Painting text in this confined space is the hardest thing the computer does. It requires a third entry in our gain schedule for velocity.

P=1.0 Vmax=2m/s satisfy radius=2m for painting text

P=1.0 Vmax=1m/s satisfy radius=5m for hovering

P=100… Continue

Added by Jack Crossfire on April 24, 2008 at 11:00am — No Comments

3D Robotics
Come join us for a Bay Area UAV fly-in! [UPDATE: Postponed!]

Jeff Johnson and I are speaking about amateur UAVs and imaging/mapping at the WHERE 2.0 conference in Silicon Valley on May 12-14, and we thought it would be fun to have a UAV fly-in beforehand.

[UPDATE: this has been postponed. See… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 23, 2008 at 9:30pm — 10 Comments

3D Robotics
New world record for autonomous soaring

Dan Edwards, a grad student at North Carolina State University, has set a new world's record for an autonomous glider flying without power from thermal to thermal. On April 18th, his 5m glider flew 29.4 miles cross country in a flight that lasted 68 minutes, entirely without… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 21, 2008 at 9:16pm — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
A quick report from the FIRST Robotics Championships

This was my first year at the FIRST Robotics Championships, and I was blown away. More than 20,000 kids and coaches from 1,500 teams from around the world came to Atlanta to compete in the Georgia Dome. They brought more than a 1,000 robots and a dizzying array of team costumes, mascots and pit… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 20, 2008 at 10:02pm — 3 Comments

The first results using a 35mm sensor to capture an autopilot program from underneith, giving the same view as Google Earth.

The first results using a 35mm sensor to capture an autopilot program from underneith, giving the same view as Google Earth.…


Added by Jack Crossfire on April 19, 2008 at 4:34pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
An update on FAA UAV regs (and a call for an organization to represent us)

Wayne Garris passed along this important update on the FAA UAV rulemaking process and what you can do to ensure that we amateurs continue to have a safe and lightly regulated place in the sky. (Short form: contact Robert Blair below and express your support for the creation of a new organization to represent amateur and small commercial UAV operators)

"Just giving everyone an update. Scott McKinnie and I had what we believe was a successful trip to DC. We believe that we can achieve… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 19, 2008 at 5:06am — 27 Comments

3D Robotics
Lego UAV 2: full details now available!

I'm at the FIRST Robotics Championship in Atlanta and we've just unveiled the first REAL Lego UAV. It's actuallly been working for a few months, but we couldn't talk about it since it's based on the new hardware that was just announced yesterday as the new FIRST Tech Challenge competition kit. Our UAV uses Mindstorms and the new hardware to make a full… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 18, 2008 at 10:37am — 20 Comments

NexStarEP RTF mini review

This is a mini review of the Hobbico NexStarEP RTF. It currently costs $399 from tower hobbies There is a much more detailed review of the model here at rcgroups.com. That review is from a pure RC perspective. I am writing this to highlight the UAV friendly features of the NexStar.

I… Continue

Added by Cory on April 18, 2008 at 8:50am — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
What am I going to show in Atlanta?

We're still racing to pack up everything for the FIRST Robotics Championship this Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Atlanta. LEGO has me listed as a speaker, in conjunction with the release of a brand new robotics platform. The title is "Taking LEGO MINDSTORMS to the Sky - The LEGO Autopilot' - by Chris Anderson". But that can't be the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 14, 2008 at 10:30pm — 2 Comments

How to: Arduino and Nintendo Nunchuck for pan and tilt camera interface

Hi all,

this post is an "how to" for an Arduino pan and tilt camera moved by a Nintendo Wii Nunchuck.

Here's the video so you can check how it'll be the result. The most important thing is the precision and responsiveness of the system.

Here it is for all that asked me in the past and for those interested in putting something similar in their UAVs.

It's an "old" project I've posted the following video… Continue

Added by Andrea Salvatore on April 12, 2008 at 9:30am — 35 Comments

3D Robotics
BlimpDuino version 2 now done

We're racing to get ready for the FIRST Robotics Championships in Atlanta next week, and the second version of our Arduino-powered RC blimp mod kit is coming together nicely. We moved to a two-sided board and integrated our custom IR direction sensors into the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 11, 2008 at 9:30pm — 5 Comments

Missouri S&T UAV Team - Autopilot Tuning

On Saturday (April 5th) we flew the airplane for the first time with the autopilot since it got the new wing. But before we went out to the RC airfield we had to physically install the autopilot in the fuselage, which went well. We then performed all of the flights necessary to tune the autopilot in HIL (Hardware In the Loop) simulation mode.

Using HIL simulation allowed us to all to get a better of idea… Continue

Added by Nullified on April 8, 2008 at 9:00pm — 3 Comments

Motor Glider UAV project

Hi all,

this is my first blog and I wanted to share that experience with you as most of my projects are about UAV and robotics.

First of all I got to thank the whole "DIYDrones" community that gave me a lot of informations and ideas in the past. And continues but... now I think it's my time to share my findings while developing my "ideas".

I usually work with the Arduino open platform but lately I've been working with… Continue

Added by Andrea Salvatore on April 8, 2008 at 11:00am — 10 Comments

"affordable motion sensors may be at hand"


So for UAV booms to become the dot com booms of the future, sensors need to cost under $1. Basically another year, another wave of startups, but no affordable motion sensors. Interestingly, this year they're not making the mistake of attacking gyros like Invensense did. They're focusing on accelerometers, not saying they're accelerometers, and selling the application rather… Continue

Added by Jack Crossfire on April 6, 2008 at 4:30pm — 7 Comments

3D Robotics
Taking Lego Mindstorms from toy to serious UAV platform

[UPDATE: after legal advice from LEGO, LatteBox has now changed its case design to remove the LEGO Technics holes, which you can see in these pictures. The new case is shown at the bottom of this post.]

What got me into this whole UAV thing a couple years ago was the crazy idea that I could combine my love of LEGO… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 4, 2008 at 12:30pm — 9 Comments

Hi res daylight

Had enough daylight to get 1/400 ISO 80 out of the A560. It definitely does a better job with those 7 million pixels. 1/400 is probably just below the minimum shutter speed. In dead calm air, the camera was much more stable. With the current yaw program & the instability of 1Hz GPS, only had enough battery power for a 270' turn on… Continue

Added by Jack Crossfire on April 1, 2008 at 11:00am — No Comments

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