Bat-teK is a Carnegie Mellon + Lockheed Martin project that uses a lot of Surveyor's robotic technologies, including the YARB blimp, SVS stereo camera and SRV-1 robot, along with CMU's console and mapping applications. CMU gave us permission to post this… Continue
We just received the prototypes of a new sensor board we developed for outdoor navigation. This navigation module includes a Honeywell HMC6352 compass, ST LISLV02DQ 3-axis tilt sensor, Analog Devices AD7998 8-channel A/D, and interface to GPS (we're using the Locosys LS20031). The board measures 31mm x 38mm (1.25" x 1.5"), and weighs around 5gm without GPS (18gm with GPS).
The open source Google Android G1 phone seemed like an obvious platform for wireless robotic control, so we created an Android-based console. After running this first with the ground-based Surveyor SRV-1 robot, we made a few small modifications and used it to control the Surveyor YARB. The tilt sensors in the Android phone work quite nicely… Continue
The AW900m is a 900MHz digital radio with lots of range and throughput - 1.54Mbps radio channel with 900-1100kbps delivered. SPI/UART version will retail for $129 per card. These look really good - I should have a couple of modules shortly and will report on performance. The UART… Continue
Added by Howard Gordon on December 22, 2008 at 2:30pm —
YARB (yet another robotic blimp) is back in business, now carrying a new Surveyor SVS (stereo vision system) controller with a pair of Blackfin cameras. The new rig weighs about the same as the previous single-camera setup with added sensors. It is actually a bit too light, so ballast has been added using washers held in place on the Wifi antenna.
SmallParts.com is a pretty handy website for prototype builders - I stumbled across them when looking for nylon fasteners and found lots of other interesting stuff - gears, belts, cables, springs, bearings, shafts, tools, etc. Prices are reasonable, though freight is a bit expensive - it cost $8 to get $15 worth of parts via UPS, but otherwise, no complaints. In any case, the site is worth a visit.
Added by Howard Gordon on September 3, 2008 at 7:10am —
Stanford Autonomous Helicopter Project has developed new reinforcement learning techniques to stabilize and control their helicopters. The developers have been able to teach their heli to perform just about every aerobatic figure imaginable. However, the heli has no on-board intelligence. Instead, data is fed from onboard GPS and IMU with… Continue
I just ran across this on Yann LeCun's blog - Yann is a professor of mathematics at NYU, a leading authority on neural networks, and an R/C enthusiast.
This is a conventional airframe with two sets of vectored motors (similar to what we're doing with the blimps). Yann reports that two rotors turn clockwise and two counter-clockwise on a diagonal. Stabilization and control is accomplished with a combination of conventional gyros… Continue
Along with a couple of Tri-Turbofan toy blimps, one of the purchases for my early blimp experiments was a Plantraco MicroBlimp, which is the company's current offering. After ordering, I found out that it was too small to carry any useful payload, so I left it in the box until deciding to take a closer look yesterday.
Plantraco seems to specialize in really small radio controlled aircraft. They tend to be somewhat expensive, but… Continue
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
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