All Blog Posts (13,729)

3D Robotics
Can open source be giving comfort to the enemy?

2005543901635491116_rs I'm posting this because I feel honestly conflicted about something that's come up. As readers of this blog know, one of my side projects is making Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ("drones") and the technology that

goes into them. Everything I do is open source, and I share much of it here. There are also loads of other…


Added by Chris Anderson on August 24, 2007 at 10:17am — 8 Comments

Hi every one i am a newby in this site. can anyone suggest me to make UAV for the RC and video transmission range of 10 miles. And good quality video camere with maximum zooming facility.

Hi every one i am a newby in this site. can anyone suggest me to make UAV for the RC and video transmission range of 10 miles. And good quality video camere with maximum zooming facility.


Added by alison on August 22, 2007 at 7:43am — 1 Comment

Traveling with your UAV

Here's a tip for you is you are traveling with your UAV using our nations airlines: Be Prepared and call ahead.

I have traveled a few times with my modified EasyGlider and FPV/UAV kit without incident. But on these early trips, the TSA did not feel it necessary to open everything up. Not so on my last trip. I returned home to find my kit in significant disarray and several items damaged. Without going into too much detail here (see my rant on RCgroups… Continue

Added by paul hubner on August 20, 2007 at 1:39pm — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
50,000 page views!

In the three months since I created this site, out traffic has steadily grown as word got out. Now we've just hit our first milestone: 50,000 page views. We have 80 participants, who have done everything from writing a blog post or uploading a video, to just submitting a comment.

How big is the natural audience for a site like this? Well, by my estimate the biggest amateur UAV community, the RCGroups UAV forum,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 17, 2007 at 7:47am — No Comments

3D Robotics
Testing heading-hold gyros

After building the gyro-stabilized camera mount and seeing the problem of gyro drift, I bought two drift-cancelling heading-hold gyros, which arrived today. I tested them both and am pleased to report that the cheaper one won!…


Added by Chris Anderson on August 16, 2007 at 12:01am — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
How to make a sub-$100 gyro-stabilized camera


[UPDATE: I've found an even better way that costs $25, is simpler and works perfectly. It's here]

Once again I started a weekend with a crazy idea and once again I had it working by Sunday evening. (Needless to say I'm not going to win any parenting…


Added by Chris Anderson on August 15, 2007 at 8:00pm — 15 Comments

3D Robotics
Details on how to build the Lego autopilot

I finally got around to doing a proper diagram of the Lego autopilot construction. I tried Google Sketchup using the public domain Mindstorms NXT objects, but before I could get very far Lego itself released all the Mindstorms NXT parts for its own much-improved Digital… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 14, 2007 at 10:54am — No Comments

3D Robotics
UAV mission over the Googleplex

This weekend I was at the Google campus in Mountain View for the SciFoo scientific conference. My session was on using micro UAVs for mapping and scientific sensing, and I thought it would be fun to give a little demonstration. What better than a UAV mission over the Googleplex?

This was cool for a number of reasons. First, you may have noticed that the Google campus "satellite" view is much higher resolution than almost any other imagery on Google maps. (The way you can tell is to…


Added by Chris Anderson on August 13, 2007 at 11:04pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
"The FAA can jump on this train or they can run along behind it, but it is going to leave without them."

From the Danger Room blog:

In the Spring of 2006, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department began flying small spy drones to track suspects. Weeks later, the drone was grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration. Top cops are… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 10, 2007 at 2:17pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
Want to be on a TV show about amateur UAVs?

This October Wired's going to be

starting a prime-time show on PBS called Wired Science, which will have

a national audience of about 6 million people per night. One of the

episodes is going to be on non-military UAVs, with a focus on the

parallel evolutions of the pros and the amateurs.

We want to film a number of amateurs (including me) flying their UAVs

in the San Francisco Bay Area sometime over the next two weeks. If

you're in the area and would… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 10, 2007 at 1:24pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
New site: OpenUAV

I just got pointed to a new open-source UAV site/community called Open UAV. It sells a low-cost ($365) autopilot board and has a library of academic papers on UAV research. If you register, you can also download open source firmware, circuit board diagrams etc.

It's run by Astroplanes, a comapany in New Zealand. Does anybody know anything about them or that autopilot? Is it related to… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 9, 2007 at 9:18pm — 1 Comment

Interested in Being Interviewed for a Story on the Minimal UAV Project?

Hey folks, I'm new to Ning so I'm just going to guess / pray that this ends up on the homepage of DIY Drones. Anyway, in my non-copious spare time at work, I'm assembling a little story on the whole Minimal UAV phenomenon. (I'm an editor for the online incarnation of Scientific American -- )

Anyone here care to volunteer to relate your experiences on building, flying and/or blue-skying the possibilities for these planes? If so, please drop me a line -- I can be… Continue

Added by Christopher Mims on August 3, 2007 at 9:55am — No Comments

3D Robotics
Update 7/29: Flight testing at the Alameda air field

We had good weather on Sat, so we tested four UAV platforms at the Alameda air field near Berkeley. Another successful trial: useful data and no lost planes!

Our mission for the next two weeks is to complete a trial that: A) takes off from the "highway" used in the Matrix 2 (the set was created at the Alameda and parts still remain); B) flies autonomously over water to the Hornet aircraft carrier, which is moored about a mile away (it's the carrier that… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 31, 2007 at 5:26am — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Why aren't we using UAVs instead of news helicopters?

The tragic death of four people in a collision of two news helicopers in Phoenix has prompted much discussion about whether following stolen cars and other TV-ratings fodder is worth the risk. What isn't debated is whether people want to watch that sort of thing, because the answer is so clearly yes. So why not give people what they want without risking human lives, and encourage TV news… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on July 30, 2007 at 11:58pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Things you could make an autopilot out of...

We've already done Lego, an iPaq cellphone and some random chips we had lying around. What other commonly found objects could you make an autopilot, or some component of one, out of?…


Added by Chris Anderson on July 30, 2007 at 2:08pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
The electric revolution in R/C planes hits full-size aviation

It's been amazing to watch how computer technologies have revolutionized the R/C aircraft world. The combination of high-efficiency brushless electric motors (first developed for DVD drives), lithium-ion batteries (developed for laptops) and spread-spectrum digital radio (popularized with WiFi) have created a class of small, quiet electric planes that are every bit their old noisy gas-powered predecessors. AMA membership is…


Added by Chris Anderson on July 27, 2007 at 2:45pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
Google investing in aerial photography

This is significant.

(BTW, I'll be speaking and demoing our UAVs at Google on Aug 4th during the SciFoo event. There's a reason we call our UAVs "GeoCrawlers")


Google has acquired ImageAmerica, a company that builds high-resolution cameras and uses them to take aerial photographs.

The search engine giant announced the move…


Added by Chris Anderson on July 27, 2007 at 10:23am — No Comments

Wow thats a small GPS!

I decided for the sake of weight, I'd replace my Garmin Etrex Vista GPS on my plane (strapped piggback) with a dedicated chip version So I ordered one from Mouser seems to have everything I ever need inabout 10 versions so its always a little daunting for me. This time I picked up a $28 GPS on a chip. If anyone cares its spec sheet is at

Long story short -- read the specs first cause I forgot to get an antenna.… Continue

Added by paul hubner on July 26, 2007 at 9:13pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
The problem with mobilizing software volunteers

Here at DIY Drones, I've been working with other amateurs to create open technology platforms to make it easier for more people to build their own UAVs (for aerial imagery, high-res Google Maps mashups, contests and other flying robot fun).

The good news is that there are a lot of programmers out there happy to donate their time and talent to helping these project along. The bad news is that each of them has their own favorite programming language, and it's up to the organizer (ie,…


Added by Chris Anderson on July 24, 2007 at 7:47pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
Testing three pan-tilt gimbals

In my quest for the perfect pan-tilt gimbal assembly for a small UAV, I've made one out of Lego and have some clumsy ones out of aluminum. Most commercial pan-tilt assemblies are made for much larger cameras than the ones we fly, or they're incredibly expensive turrets meant for military and commercial UAVs. But I've hunted around and found three that appear to be within our size, weight and price range. How do…


Added by Chris Anderson on July 23, 2007 at 2:44pm — 1 Comment

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