As those who have been following along with our "minimum blimp" project to create the cheapest possible autonomous aerial robot (by adding an open source autopilot to a toy RC blimp), maintaining altitude in the face of air currents and temperature gradients has been a continuing challenge. The main problem…
The AUVSI organizers have offered to get us a flying field in San Diego for an amateur UAV fly-in on Sunday, June 8th, the day before their big annual UAV conference and expo starts. Before I take them up on this, I want to gauge interest: are you in the San Diego area or going there for AUVSI and might want to fly on that Sunday?
Today we hit another nice milestone in the growth of DIY Drones: 1,000 people have signed up to participate. In the ten months this site has been running, it has grown to an average of 1,000 unique visitors and 5,000 page views a day. Over that period, we've had a total of about 200,000 unique visitors and nearly three quarters of million page views. We add new… Continue
After our presentations last week at Where 2.0, our Pict'Earth friends stuck around for the weekend to do another mapping mission over the Googleplex (this now seems to be a rite of passage in our community--my original mission is… Continue
The Government Accounting Office has released a new report on the issue of introducing UAVs into the national airspace for routine operations. Nothing very new or illuminating, but I'm glad that they noted that the lack of a clear regulatory path is hindering commercial development. Words that do not appear anywhere in the report: "amateur", "non-commercial", "recreational" and "open source".
Confused by all this talk about Eagle PCB files, schematics, "fabs" and all that? Until about three months ago, so was I. But with a lot of late nights and hand-holding from Jordi, I finally figured it out and now find the fast-growing DIY hardware world mind-blowingly cool. Now you can zip up the learning curve a lot faster than I did by checking out this excellent new… Continue
Dave from UNAV sent over the above GPS simulation results from a search and rescue pattern test for the upcoming Australian Outback Challenge contest. The course is 5x2 miles and Dave used the new… Continue
For very small UAVs, especially those used indoors, an interesting way to navigate is using a technique called "optical flow". Basically, it's the way flies see: they detect motion rather than resolve images. As you move, the objects closest to you appear to move the fastest, which for a camera chip means pixels shifting position faster.
The video above is from a Swiss team that have used optical flow to steer…
This isn't exactly a UAV product, but Jay Graves, who runs Hobby Lobby, emailed to say that they've just released a First Person View (FPV) kit, which looks very nice. FPV is a combo of a videocamera in the plane, an onboard wireless video transmitter, a ground receiver and video… Continue
I thought I'd checked everything for our proposed fly-in this coming weekend: airfield availability, weather, technology ready to fly. But I missed the most obvious conflict: it's MOTHER'S DAY!
Given that I've been traveling for past week and we have five little kids, you can imagine that it would earn me no points at home to leave my wife with the children again while I go flying with the boys. So I'm… Continue
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 top side (inside the gondola) of the new board (right)… Continue
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 showing: