Chris Anderson's Blog – September 2007 Archive (9)

Awesome quadcopter drones, now with GSM communications

They're not amateurs (their quadcopter systems cost around $60,000) but the Microdrones guys do amazing work. In this video: hand-motion control, GSM communications and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 28, 2007 at 7:36am — 2 Comments

Testing two GPS loggers: thumbs up and thumbs down

If you're planning to turn your UAVs (or just R/C planes) into aerial mapping machines, you're going to want a GPS data logger. What they do is give position information that you can match with each of your shots, so you can properly align them into a mosaic and place it on Google Maps. Companies such as Pict'Earth can take a GPS log file and a zip file of a few hundred shots and turn them into a beautiful orthorectified Google Earth overlay like… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 24, 2007 at 12:16pm — 8 Comments

Red tape grounds military UAVs, too

Noah Schachtman at Wired's Danger Room blog reports from his recent trip to Iraq. Turns out that we're not the only ones having trouble with airspace regulators:

"The Defense Department's unmanned air force has…


Added by Chris Anderson on September 22, 2007 at 9:10am — 1 Comment

100,000 page views!

It took us three months to get our first 50,000 page views. It took us just a month to get the second 50,000. This site passed 100,000 page views earlier this week. How long till we get a million?

Added by Chris Anderson on September 21, 2007 at 3:10pm — No Comments

Turning an EasyStar into a proper camera platform

Multiplex EasyStars are one of the most popular aerial photography aircraft for a good reason: they're cheap, stable, tough and easy to modify. In an earlier post, I described how to upgrade one for better performance. In this post, I'll show you how to install a camera for great Google Earth mapping, producing high-resolution,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 17, 2007 at 9:37pm — 15 Comments

Warning: Spread Spectrum R/C and 2.4 GhZ video downlinks don't mix!

In a comment on a thread at right, David Albert makes an important point about frequency clashes between spread specturm radios and 2.4 Ghz video downlink systems, such as the RangeVideo and Black Widow AV setups that we use. If you haven't been following the chatter on aerial photography newsgroups, you might have missed this (as I did). This info may save your…


Added by Chris Anderson on September 11, 2007 at 4:02pm — No Comments

Is this the miracle chipset that's going to make DIY drones easy?

Analog Devices is about to start selling a very cool-looking device: a small box that combines three-axis gyros with three-axis accelerometers, along with an embedded processor to massage all that data and deal with calibration and drift issues. Called the ADIS16355, it will retail for about $300, which isn't cheap, but when you consider what it would cost you in time and money to duplicate that… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 10, 2007 at 10:38pm — 6 Comments

Modding the Nitro Models 4-channel Predator

As I mentioned, I totaled the first Predator UAV, due to the combination of an underpowered motor and the marginal controllability of that design's V-tail-only steering. I spent last weekend replacing… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 10, 2007 at 11:26am — 5 Comments

Using Pict'Earth for image processing

Now that we've got several UAVs running well, it's time to show what they're good for. Aerial photography is fun, but it's not really useful unless you can cover large areas and integrate the imagery into Google Earth. I've been stitching together images optically and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 7, 2007 at 2:59pm — 2 Comments

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