Chris Anderson's Blog – April 2008 Archive (12)

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 Vehicles." Pictured here in the museum are three of the six… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 30, 2008 at 7:30pm — 4 Comments

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

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

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 network to take the inputs from his acceleromters, gyros,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 25, 2008 at 8:23am — 7 Comments

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 beforehand.

[UPDATE: this has been postponed. See… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 23, 2008 at 9:30pm — 10 Comments

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 in a flight that lasted 68 minutes, entirely without power… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 21, 2008 at 9:16pm — 3 Comments

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 robots and a dizzying array of team costumes, mascots and pit… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 20, 2008 at 10:02pm — 3 Comments

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

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

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

BlimpDuino version 2 now done

We're racing to get ready for the FIRST Robotics Championships in Atlanta next week, and the second version of our Arduino-powered RC blimp mod kit is coming together nicely. We moved to a two-sided board and integrated our custom IR direction sensors into the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 11, 2008 at 9:30pm — 5 Comments

Taking Lego Mindstorms from toy to serious UAV platform

[UPDATE: after legal advice from LEGO, LatteBox has now changed its case design to remove the LEGO Technics holes, which you can see in these pictures. The new case is shown at the bottom of this post.]

What got me into this whole UAV thing a couple years ago was the crazy idea that I could combine my love of LEGO… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on April 4, 2008 at 12:30pm — 9 Comments

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