All Blog Posts (13,675)

3D Robotics
Minimum Blimp V2 update

As mentioned before, for the second version of our Minimum Blimp Jordi and I decided to mod a RC toy blimp on the grounds that it will be cheaper and more robust than trying to build the whole mechanical assembly ourselves (the aim is to have a fully programmable and hackable blimp… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 19, 2008 at 6:00am — 10 Comments

UAV Project Progress - flight gear simulation, first steps

I am working on using flight gear to simulate and test my UAV code. The screen shot shows flight gear and the C# application that is receiving the data. the way I see it, the first step is to read some data out of flight gear. I am using a TCP socket to read the data. I have achieved display of the raw string of data. My next step will be to parse the data into meaningful bits. I have been looking all over the net for information on using flight… Continue

Added by Cory on March 18, 2008 at 8:22pm — 2 Comments

Autonomous UAV Aerobatics Project

here are two notes below that describe the fantastic video demonstration of the MIT Autonomous Airplane Indoor Flying test. Keep your eye on this page for more info in the future.

"In these flight tests, a fixed vertical landing platform was designed and attached to a concrete pole in the middle of the RAVEN flight space to allow the fixed-wing aircraft to land and perch on the pole.… Continue

Added by Cory on March 18, 2008 at 6:54pm — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
What does "Open Source Hardware" mean?

Here at DIY Drones, we adhere to open source principles wherever possible. That means we aim to share (that means post it, not make people ask for it) code, schematics, PCB files, parts lists, instructions, and algorithms for every project featured here. In practice, that's not always possible (not all project have PCB files; not all projects need schematics),… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 18, 2008 at 2:00pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
A clever approach to indoor beacons: ultrasound + IR = GPS

A Luxembourg-based team has come up with a really clever indoor navigation system that combines ultrasonic beacons with IR to achieve absolute position ("synthetic GPS"), much like the NorthStar system we use but entirely DIY.

As they describe it: "The infrared flash of a single beacon arrives… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 18, 2008 at 5:13am — 1 Comment

YARB 1.0 - added compass and ultrasonic sensors

I attached some additional sensors today - a pair of Maxbotics EZ0 ultrasonic ranging modules and a Honeywell HMC6532 I2C compass. Also, I added an extender to the camera module to point downward about 30-degrees and I finally adjusted the focus. I think the camera angle is pretty good now - the wide angle lens has a field-of-view of approx 120-degrees, so the bottom of the frame captures objects almost directly below.

I haven't yet filtered the sensor data. The… Continue

Added by Howard Gordon on March 16, 2008 at 5:01pm — 19 Comments

YARB 1.0 update - first untethered flight

Here's a video clip from YARB 1.0's first untethered flight. I captured the video while sitting in my office while the blimp explored the hallway and front room (the dogs completely ignored it). The camera is a bit out of focus, and the afternoon light washed out the picture somewhat, but you get the idea.

You can see the modified console with buttons to vector the props and invert the video. I'm actually surprised with how easy it is to pilot YARB - it is very responsive.… Continue

Added by Howard Gordon on March 13, 2008 at 4:26pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
BoingBoing TV features DIY Drones!

Our Minimum Blimp demo at ETech is the focus of today's Boing Boing TV. Learn how Jordi and Chris met and watch Jordi get subtitled! (Note: Some of the imagery is taken from elsewhere on this site and other presentations I've made and doesn't actually come from the Minimum Blimp or any blimp for that matter. It's just there for… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 13, 2008 at 9:26am — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
Minimum Blimp UAV (Version 1) schematic and code

For those who want to reproduce what we did with the Minimum Blimp, the schematic is above. The Arduino code is here.

We're now moving on the Minimum Blimp Version 2, which… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 11, 2008 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Prairie Predator Build

I've been working on a Nitro Predator for about a month and ahalf now. I'm stalled trying to figure out some problems with an Airtronics radio system I have that doesn't want to work. Everything "seems" OK but when I hook up servos to the receiver and try to control with the TX, no luck. the servos jitter when I apply power at the receiver, but no response at all to TX commands.

am playing with adding a controllable rudder to the Predator for no other reason than the real one has… Continue

Added by Ron Jacobs on March 10, 2008 at 4:43pm — 15 Comments

3D Robotics
Regulatory FAQ

[These are Frequently Asked Questions about the current state of UAV regulation in the US. Regulations elsewhere are different, but here is a similar post giving the rules for Canada.]

Q: Are UAVs legal in the United States?

A: Under certain conditions, they are. There are two ways to legally fly Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the "National Airspace", which is to say all but…


Added by Chris Anderson on March 9, 2008 at 8:30pm — 49 Comments

3D Robotics
PicoPilot software updated

The good folks at UNAV have been listening to our complaints about the way their software handles communications errors if you don't have your Com ports set up just right when running the software (it basically barfed up a cascade of mystifying error messages, with no indication of what was really wrong and what to do about it).

They've now created a… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 9, 2008 at 7:47pm — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Testing the real world range of the Pololu IR transcievers

As you know, we've had a lot of trouble with the short range of our Pololu IR transceivers that we use with our Blimp UAV. They're rated at up to 20 feet, but we can't seem to get more than 10 feet (and usually more like 5) in real world conditions, with the usual amount of IR noise and the two transceivers not being on the same horizontal plane. I know that… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 8, 2008 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Yet Another Robotic Blimp (YARB)

Frustrated by difficulties in achieving adequate stability with my coaxial and quad flyers, and inspired by the efforts of Chris and Jordi with their BlimpBot project, I commenced yet another attempt to defeat gravity with a robotic entity.

This new project employs a relatively inexpensive 66-inch helium blimp from RC Guys, modified for direct motor control using the H-bridge built into the radio board portion of the… Continue

Added by Howard Gordon on March 8, 2008 at 3:42pm — 17 Comments

3D Robotics
Failsafe board now cheaper, better

The Failsafe board (known as a "RxMux", or Receiver Multiplexer) that I wrote about before (and here) is now available for $20 less and with the connectors that I complained were missing in the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 6, 2008 at 8:22am — 2 Comments

Wiring - First Experiements

I finally got my Wiring board form Sparkfun! Wiring is a platform similar to the Arduino but using an AVR atmega128 chip. This chip is clocked at 16Mhz while the Arduino is clocked at 20Mhz. The advantage of the 128 is the increased RAM, ROM & Flash capacity over the Arduino. Both share the same development environment and code written for one can be made to run on the other. A '… Continue

Added by Gareth Farrington on March 5, 2008 at 9:46pm — 2 Comments

3D Robotics
ETech BlimpBot demo report: Success!

Well, that went better. After last week's disaster, Jordi and I worked hard to make the Etech demo of the Minimum Blimp… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 5, 2008 at 5:00pm — 5 Comments

2003 Atlantic Crossing UAV

I read about Maynard Hill when he sent this UAV across the Atlantic in 2003 but I though that there might be a good number of us who never read the story.

or for the kids:…


Added by paul hubner on March 4, 2008 at 9:54am — 5 Comments

3D Robotics
Great primer on accelerometers and basic triginometry

I'll be the first to admit it: I had to relearn a lot of trig that I was last taught in 7th grade when I started work on autopilots. Now Freescale, who makes accelerometers, has come out with a really easy to understand primer on the math of tilt sensing that make it all wonderfully… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on March 4, 2008 at 8:42am — No Comments

AUVSI - Conference

I went to the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) conference In Washington DC from Febraury 27-29. Each day focused on a different type of unmanned system. The first day was exclusively ground systems, the second day was maritime systems and the third day was air systems.

For the most part, the presentations were military related. One point that was repeated again and again during all three days was the need for integration and interoperability. The… Continue

Added by Cory on March 2, 2008 at 3:14pm — 4 Comments

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Season Two of the Trust Time Trial (T3) Contest 
A list of all T3 contests is here. The current round, the Vertical Horizontal one, is here

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