and I will give everyone at the TED conference
in Monterey the first public preview of the Minimum Blimp UAV
. I did the design and Jordi did all the work!
Jordi has more detail in his post… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 28, 2008 at 1:30pm —
If you want an autopilot for less than $1,000 today you only have two choices: Do it Yourself or buy a PicoPilot
(Dean Goedde's AttoPilot
isn't out yet). The PicoPilot, which has been out since 2003, is small, light, and simple, and comes in varieties that range from simple one-axis rudder control to barometrically controlled elevator and/or throttle (prices… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 26, 2008 at 11:30pm —
For those of you interested in building a Lego Mindstorms UAV, two updates:
1) I've improved the RobotC code
for the Bluetooth GPS version
, in which I caught a lot of bugs. If you were having trouble with it before, download it again and see how it works.
2) At an event in April (can't say more than that), I'll be unveiling the next version of the… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 25, 2008 at 12:30am —
Some of you may have noticed that for quite a while SparkFun has been listing a "UAV Development Platform - ET312 + IMU
" that's always been out of stock. I backordered one out of curiosity last year, and pretty much forgot about it. Then, last week, SparkFun called and said… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 18, 2008 at 4:00pm —
and I have been hard at work on the Minimum Blimp UAV
and things are coming together nicely. Here are some videos:
First, a test of the Ping))) sensor that we're using for altitude hold. Don't you love the tray-table simulation platform? ;-) The Ping))) sensors are strapped to the far end of the… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 18, 2008 at 2:30pm —
In an earlier post
, I discussed the importance of having a redundant failsafe board so you can regain control in the advent (likelyhood!) of an autopilot failure. Basically, what that board does is sits in-between your autopilot, RC receiver and servos. You switch it… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 18, 2008 at 12:30pm —
We love FlightGear
and all that it stands for, but the truth is that it's a bit complicated for beginners. For the rest of us, there's the old stand-by, Microsoft Flight simulator. There's a free plug-in for MS Flight Simulator 2004 called… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 17, 2008 at 10:36pm —
The main existing US Blimp UAV competition is the Indoor Aerial Robot Competition
(IARC) held every year since 2005 at Drexel University in Phladelphia.
The contest is designed mostly as an exercise in remote control, both human and computer. The blimps appear to be all RC, with wireless… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 16, 2008 at 11:00am —
We've forked the Blimp UAV into two projects, a minimum and a maximum one. The maximum one is the one that's using the NorthStar "synthetic GPS" directional system
and all sorts of other goodies to be a real indoor UAV, with full room sense and navigation… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 16, 2008 at 12:00am —
As some of you know, this site is based on the Ning platform, and they've just rolled out some changes. Relevent parts for us include:
--Mass Uploader for Photos, Videos, and Music/Podcasts
You'll now be able to upload up to 100 photos, 30 videos or 100 songs/podcasts in one fell swoop. That's not to say that adding all of this stuff won't take forever, but go grab a snack or five and you'll be all set.
--Blog "Improvements" - Round 1
Frankly, this is a… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 15, 2008 at 10:34am —
Another advantage of GPS simulation: you get to discover horrible glitches in the matrix, such as the inconvenient fact that GPS comes in different dialects, each of which requires different parsing. I found this out when my GPS parser was working with the simulator
, but not the real EM406
. The problem turned out to be that the simulator outputs GPS time as… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 12, 2008 at 10:00pm —
I've had a couple people ask why there's such an emphasis here on GPS simulation. The simple answer is "Because we don't want to lose our UAVs!" With regular robots, when they've got bugs or software crashes, you just pick them up and fix the problem. With UAVs, they're likely to fly away forever or end up in a pile of pieces. They're more like satellites or Mars rovers than battlebots--you can't fix them from the ground, and when they go wrong in the air, it can be catastrophic.
Added by Chris Anderson on February 9, 2008 at 8:30pm —
Now that I'm doing hardware-in-the-loop testing with the GPS simulator, the bugs in my code are showing up quickly, just as they should. Here's one small-but-deadly one I found this eve: all the code using the FT639 servo controller chip should have a special serial port configuration line that's different from the one we use for the GPS module. Turns… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 8, 2008 at 12:00am —
In an earlier pos
t (and here
), I showed how to switch the Basic Stamp autopilot from the Parallax GPS module to the better EM406
. The reason to do this isn't just the superior reception of the EM406. It's also that the original version of the Basic… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 3, 2008 at 10:30am —
If you've been following the exploits of IceBear and a few others, you know that recently they've been beta testing a hot new autopilot that promises to be better and cheaper than anything else in the under $1,000 category. It's called the AttoPilot and I'm… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 2, 2008 at 9:00am —
Q: You decided to go with an IR sensor (aka "thermopile", shown) rather than a gyro and accelerometer in an IMU for the first version. Can you explain how you came to that decision?
I have found that even without fancy code, the thermopile is a… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 2, 2008 at 8:30am —
Q: In a nutshell, what's the AttoPilot project about?
The AttoPilot is about bringing a full-function powerful autopilot to a larger crowd, for many of whom "DIY" is not their interest, just something they can buy and use. I myself wanted to buy a hobby autopilot in late 2005… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 2, 2008 at 8:30am —
Every member of DIY Drones has the ability to create their own blog posts and discussion topics (Please do! This is a community site and its vitality depends on your participation).
Doing so is easy: click here
to create a blog post or click… Continue
Added by Chris Anderson on February 1, 2008 at 8:30pm —