July 2008 Blog Posts (42)

3D Robotics
Move to start a civilian UAV association

[From the CropCam googlegroup:]

From: Greg Lewis - ODIS [email redacted]

Date: Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 12:04 AM

Subject: International Civilian UAV Users Group?

To: Cropcam

Hello All,

We are just finishing up the latest CropCam training session and there has been some very good dialogue.

One of the things that we have been discussing is trying to gauge interest in forming an International civilian UAV… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 31, 2008 at 11:02am — 8 Comments

3D Robotics
FAQ: What's the difference between a UAV and a RC plane?

I get this question all the time from newcomers, so I'll answer it here as we build a proper FAQ:

Q: What's the difference between a RC plane and a UAV? And why doesn't the AMA allow UAVs on its fields?

A: The generally-agreed distinction is that UAVs have the capacity for autonomous flight and navigation. A RC plane becomes a UAV with the addition of an autopilot.

The AMA doesn't allow UAVs because its insurance doesn't cover them. I actually agree with the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 31, 2008 at 9:46am — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Easy to understand PID tutorial

For those who are feeling a bit intimidated by PID loops, here's a really clear and easy to understand tutorial from an autopilot project. The code examples are C++, but they're easy to translate to C.

Added by Chris Anderson on July 29, 2008 at 8:51pm — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Housekeeping note: how to send private messages

If you want to communicate with another member but not necessarily in the forums or their public pages, you can send a private message. The feature is marked by a little envelope, but initially you will only see it next to the names of site administrators (me and a few other people). If you want to send a PM to someone else, you have to "friend them" first, which is to say you extend a friend invitation to them and they accept. You should then see an envelope icon next to their name at all… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 29, 2008 at 4:11pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
Cool AttoPilot feature: relative waypoints

Dean Goedde has added a cool feature to the forthcoming AttoPilot: relative waypoints. He explains:

"I have innovated a new method for using waypoint paths: a method to signify a waypoint list as being a "template". In this method, the waypoint list becomes a list of relative coordinates, relative to the 0th WP in the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 29, 2008 at 3:29pm — 5 Comments

3D Robotics
Anybody know anything about this very nice-looking autopilot from Poland?

Ryszard Arandzikowski, a superdedicated hobbyist in Poland, has spent the last three years creating this suite of UAV technologies. Autopilot and ground station software,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 29, 2008 at 12:30pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Easy Glider Pro (and new Multiplex Mentor) now available

For those who love the Multiplex EasyStar but want more lifting capacity and space (or just need ailerons) good news: its big brother, the Easy Glider Pro, is now available. This upgraded plane apparently fixes some of the problems with the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 27, 2008 at 10:30pm — No Comments

Today is a "work" day

@ 1:39PM

So...after sitting outside for about 30 minutes, i'm pretty sure that the antenna on my GPS is shot. I don't know how or why, but it sends NMEA 0183 nicely, but it doesn't seem to like picking up sats. It blinks a few, but nothing steady or strong. I was using my BT for testing purposes, but it failed, so it looks like i am up for purchasing something else. Maybe something else with WAAS. Nothing 5hz though as my software doesn't want to sample that fast lol.

My… Continue

Added by Genesis Factor on July 25, 2008 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

The 1 month report

Written on the 20th

Right now, the computer system is almost complete. After numerous discussions on the phone, PC104 boards were added, omitted, and sometimes stared at blankly. The end result is that there is one more PC104 board that had been expected. I guess it was an acquiesce where I wanted to get USB2.0 and was planning to buy an adaptec PCMCIA adatper to go with a dual PCMCIA PC104 board I had. I then found out that ISA bus… Continue

Added by Genesis Factor on July 24, 2008 at 10:30am — 9 Comments

3D Robotics
Smallest flapping bot yet

Bart Remes and his team at the Technical University of Delft have just produced the smallest-ever flapping wing robot (ornithopter) with a built-in camera.With a wingspan of just 10 centimetres (4"), the DelFly could easily be confused with a real dragonfly. Not yet autonomous, but a good candidate for a mouse-chip optical flow autopilot. (Thanks to…


Added by Chris Anderson on July 23, 2008 at 9:32pm — 4 Comments

Lithium Polymer Batteries and Chargers mini-primer

Lithium Polymer batteries are an attractive power source for electric flight due to their high energy density. The combination of lithium polymer batteries and brushless motors now rivals glow power in terms of power and duration.

The main difficulty when using lithium polymer batteries is choosing what batteries and charger to use. Batteries are specified in terms of voltage, capacity, and discharge rating.

Voltage is generally listed as 1S - 6S. The S number refers to… Continue

Added by Cory on July 23, 2008 at 11:04am — 7 Comments

3D Robotics
FAQ: Confusing terms explained

This is a glossary of some of the terms you may read on DIY Drones. Please feel free to suggest others in the comments below!

  • 2.4 GhzThe frequency used by digital (spread spectrum) radio communications in our applications, including 2.4Ghz RC, bluetooth and some video transmission equipment. This is a different band than the older 72 Mhz band…

Added by Chris Anderson on July 21, 2008 at 10:30pm — 45 Comments

3D Robotics
Video of the BlimpDuino with vectoring thrusters

Switching BlimpDuino from modded toy blimps to a custom vectoring thruster platform was the best move we've made so far. Not only does it save a lot of money and fuss, but the vectoring thrusters give us much better control, including total… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 20, 2008 at 6:30pm — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
Even better than the "Air Sniper": the "Air Knife"!

Our friends at the Danger Room blog were inspired by the comically bogus "AirSniper" UAV/assault rifle ad we found. So they did it one… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 18, 2008 at 7:30pm — 5 Comments

3D Robotics
DIY Drones on the Ning home page!

Very cool! We're now a featured network on the home page of Ning, which is the social network service that this site is based on. They told me it was due to our "strong organic growth", which is due to all of you!

We now average around 1,500 unique visitors and around 6,000 page… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 18, 2008 at 7:30am — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Wall Street Journal: Unmanned Aircraft Face Hurdles

From today's WSJ:

Unmanned Aircraft Face Hurdles


July 17, 2008

FARNBOROUGH, England -- Unmanned aircraft are rapidly becoming mainstays of military and border-security operations worldwide. But significant commercial uses for the planes aren't expected to emerge for at least another decade because of regulatory and technical challenges, industry and government officials said at… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 16, 2008 at 10:14pm — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Warning: bad experience with UNAV

I've had mixed experiences with UNAV (maker of the Pico Pilot) in the past. I like their autopilot hardware, but the software is terrible and it all feels a bit dated and old-school. Based on some early looks I think Dean Goedde's AttoPilot is going to blow the Pico Pilot away (a proper review will be coming as soon as I get my hands on the hardware). But I wanted to be fair to UNAV, so I offered to review their new PicoPilot groundstation… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 16, 2008 at 9:18pm — 21 Comments

new plan

after much thought, i'm copping out of creating a UAV with video tracking.

now the plan is to mount a decent video camera in a controlled environment in order to track infrared signals.

blimps will have IR emitters on top, emitting some sort of modulated signal. with some fourier transform and the computing power of my mac, i can then locate and identify a given number of blimps in view.

i'm trying to identify true (x,y,z) position of each blimp. i'm thinking of using… Continue

Added by Aaron Weinstein on July 16, 2008 at 8:30pm — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Lunch with Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi

Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of the Arduino project, was in San Francisco today after spending the weekend at FOO Camp, and he dropped by for lunch with me at Wired. As you know we're huge Arduino fans, so this was a rare treat to learn more about how the project works and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 14, 2008 at 10:35pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Is this for real?

Spotted in the current issue of Unmanned Systems, the AUVSI magazine: an ad for a sniper rifle/quadcopter UAV (shown above). Absurdly, it says you can take off the rotors and camera and also use the fuselage as an assault rifle! If this were the April edition, I'd think it was an April Fool's joke. The ad is full of typos and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 14, 2008 at 9:30pm — 14 Comments

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