All Blog Posts (13,417)

BasicX auto pilot

This is a journal for a BasicX AP I've been working on for the last month:

i received my BasicX processor the first week of April and spent the next week pounding out the code .

i then spent the next week simulating and adding a few niceties like way point and setup files.

the next two weeks was spent waiting for the gps module and other parts… Continue

Added by wayne garris on May 5, 2008 at 6:00pm — 16 Comments

Finally started work on my UAV

I've had it in my mind for some time now to build a UAV. I liked Chris' builds with the Predator airframes and noted his concerns about the larger of the two Predators not having enough power or control authority. Now that I've managed to get my hands on a Predator, you guys get to suffer through my build log.

I stripped the airframe down by removing the stock 380 brushed motor, ESC and associated wiring and weighed the airframe...14.5 oz for the 75in wingspan version. I decided to… Continue

Added by Jason Carter on May 4, 2008 at 11:00pm — 2 Comments

The Horror of Blimps

At the Maker Faire, the story on the intertubes about the HORROR of blimps came up. For those of you who haven't read it, head over here.

I decided to make a DIY blimp today. My 1 year old son's recent love of balloons is a pretty good excuse.

Added by Ivan Kirigin on May 3, 2008 at 9:30pm — 5 Comments

3D Robotics
New BlimpDuino board: smaller, neater, better!

Here's our latest, greatest BlimpDuino (Arduino-clone autonomous blimp controller) board: double-sided, silkscreened neatly laid out and otherwise in much better shape. Shown above is the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 2, 2008 at 9:04pm — 7 Comments

3D Robotics
A decision on Basic Stamps and Parallax (+ FREE Propeller chip hardware to a good home!)

After my impetuous outburst about the limitations of the Parallax Basic Stamp platform, Parallax co-founder Ken Gracey was kind enough to respond directly in the comments.… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 2, 2008 at 12:48pm — 18 Comments

3D Robotics
UAV as "drug mule"?

Post by Ian Powell noted without comment (edited for clarity):

"Two people emailed be about building them a UAV to travel large distances. After making some enquiries, I determined they wanted:

10kg carrying capacity

speed 100km per hour

distance 3000 km

a drug mule uav!!!!!!!!!!!!

It seems to… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 1, 2008 at 11:20pm — 7 Comments

3D Robotics
DIYDrones @ MakerFaire this weekend

DIYDrones is going to be at Maker Faire this weekend in San Mateo. We're going to be in the Wired/GeekDad booth (yes, I wear lots of hats), booth 166 in the Expo Hall (click on the map for detail), all day Sat and Sun. We'll be… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on May 1, 2008 at 11:00pm — 4 Comments

3D Robotics
UAVs in the Smithsonian


"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… 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… 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… 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… 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… 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 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

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