Chris Anderson's Blog – August 2008 Archive (30)

Quickie review of the Pololu Arduino-compatible wheeled bot

I just got the new Pololu 3pi wheeled bot that I posted about last week, and it's every bit as cool as I'd hoped. It's quite small (those are AAA batteries in the picture, not AAs). It's basically one beautifully designed… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 30, 2008 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

First bot-on-bot attack in Iraq

We don't cover military UAVs much here, but this one is too notable to overlook (from Gizmodo):



"For the first time in history, an unmanned machine has engaged and destroyed another unmanned machine in real combat. It sounds like science fiction, but it happened a week ago in Iraq, when a MQ-9 Reaper killed a remote controlled vehicle carrying a bomb.



The… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 27, 2008 at 9:00pm — 8 Comments

FAA rejects petition to allow small UAVs for natural resources management

Here's an update to the PineCreek petition to the FAA to allow small UAVs for natural resources management. It was… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 27, 2008 at 3:47pm — 2 Comments

A new (and inexpensive) Arduino-compatible wheeled bot

We're all about the flying things here, but since Arduino robotics is also a focus I thought I'd pass this along. Pololu has just released a nifty two-wheeled bot based on the Atmega168. It's under $100 and looks… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 27, 2008 at 3:09pm — No Comments

New Draganfly semi-autonomous heli-thing looks awesome

It's got six rotors on three arms, 11 sensors (including GPS) and flies like a dream. God knows what it costs, but if you have to ask you can't afford it. [UPDATE: I just got an email from them. They say "The base model starts at $14,995.00."] The new… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 26, 2008 at 9:30pm — 9 Comments

Finally, a decent (albeit expensive) competitor to the Eagle PCB software

I've just been playing with the demo version of Pulsonix, which is the best competitor to the aging Cadsoft Eagle PCB design software that is the standard in our industry. It looks fantastic, improving on Eagle in loads of ways such as easy viewing of the front or back… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 26, 2008 at 4:30pm — 8 Comments

Cool kit to add a video camera to an EasyStar

We're not a First-Person View (FPV) site, but there is a lot of technical overlap between the FPV and UAV worlds. One is the love of the EasyStar and adding cameras to it. While browsing the Range Video site, I found this cool $39 kit they sell to add a pan-tilt video camera and downlink transmitter to an EasyStar.

Here's another…

Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 26, 2008 at 12:22pm — 4 Comments

New RangeVideo OSD + return-to-launch autopilot for $299

This week Range Video is expected to release a cool new combo: an On-Screen Display (OSD) board with a built-in return-to-launch autopilot, failsafe and and visual guides to GPS waypoints. The product page is… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 26, 2008 at 11:00am — No Comments

Microsoft selling Virtual Earth aerial imagery for stand-alone use

Microsoft just announced that you can now buy the high-resolution aerial photography that it uses in Virtual Earth, without having to license the whole Virtual Earth package. I doubt our community would be in the market for this, but it does speak to the demand for such imagery, which our community could provide. The pricing was not disclosed (apparently it varies… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 25, 2008 at 11:06am — No Comments

New home pages for ArduPilot, ArduPilot Pro and BlimpDuino

As we get closer to releasing products, I've set up home pages for ArduPilot, ArduPilot Pro and BlimpDuino. They're created as big posts at the moment, but they'll probably migrate to proper minisites with wikis once the products are out. They're all… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 23, 2008 at 6:45pm — No Comments

New version of the ArduPilot board

Jordi and I are preparing the final production version of the ArduPilot board, which involves the usual debugging and last-minute feature adding. The problems we've found are largely in power and noise management--we've needed to isolate the servos from the processor parts, so high current draws don't… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 19, 2008 at 9:00pm — 14 Comments

Learn about LabView for UAVs at AUVSI meeting

Jordi and I are planning to use LabView to create the open source ground station software for ArduPilot (National Instruments has kindly donated a professional edition licence to DIY Drones). We saw a lot of UAV teams, especially academic and research groups, using LabView at the AUVSI annual meeting in San Diego, and we're starting to see more interest in the open source side of it, including the OpenG community.



For those in the San… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 18, 2008 at 6:51pm — 6 Comments

ArduPilot code now in alpha

As Jordi continues testing and improving the ArduPilot boards, I've been integrating his cool binary-mode GPS parser and otherwise improving our pre-alpha code. So I think we're now a proper alpha, which is to say that although this hasn't been tested in the air yet, it does have most of the ingredients of a basic autopilot. The Arduino code is… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 17, 2008 at 11:00pm — 14 Comments

A new rock-solid GPS parser for ArduPilot (or any Arduino)

Our alpha ArduPilot code has an okay GPS parser, but like all of them based on ASCII NMEA sentences, it's slow and doesn't handle errors (corrupted data) very well. We've now done a lot better. Here's Jordi's new Arduino GPS parser, which will be in the next version of the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 10, 2008 at 10:30pm — 14 Comments

Review of new semi-autonomous toy heli

My other blog, GeekDad, has a review of the new WowWee BladeStar, which is like a body-less helicopter. It's got a semi-autonomous mode, using IR sensors, that lets it avoid any obstacles, from walls, ceilings and furniture or… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 9, 2008 at 3:57pm — 1 Comment

UAVs over the Beijing Olympics



From our Wired Science blog:



"Beginning tomorrow, a UC-San Diego professor will be sending unmanned aerial vehicles into the pollution clouds emanating from the city to measure… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 9, 2008 at 8:19am — 8 Comments

Tilt-compensated compass now $100 cheaper

That cool tilt-compensated compass at Sparkfun that we wrote about before is now $100 cheaper, at $149.



[Thanks to Marty for the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 9, 2008 at 7:30am — No Comments

AUVSI Aerial Robotics Competition results posted



The results are up for the AUVSI Aerial Robotics Competition, held a few weeks ago at Ft Benning, GA. Once again no team finished all the challenges, so the judges divided the prize money based on… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 8, 2008 at 4:12pm — 2 Comments

Control Howard's Surveyor bots over the Web!

Howard Gordon is too modest to mention this, but BP Solar is using his Surveyor vehicles for a cool… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 8, 2008 at 4:01pm — 2 Comments

Shrinks help drone pilots cope with robo-violence



Interesting post
from Noah Shachtman over at our Danger Room blog. Excerpt:



"Flying drones from halfway-across the world used to be considered a cushy, if somewhat sterile, military… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on August 8, 2008 at 9:58am — No Comments

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