Chris Anderson's Blog – September 2008 Archive (25)

Winners of the 2008 Outback Rescue competition

(above: crashes and near crashes at the competition)

From the press reports:

TOOWOOMBA man Simeon O'Neill and his best mate used their patched-up 30-year-old model plane to beat teams of university aerospace engineers at the UAV Challenge in Kingaroy. Mr O'Neill and his high school buddy Aaron Donaldson, from Geelong, won the main event, the Search and Rescue open category,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 29, 2008 at 4:55pm — 12 Comments

Poll: how important is a 5HZ GPS to you?

I mentioned in a previous post that we plan to make ArduPilot compatible with both 1Hz and 5Hz GPS modules. The problem is that the 1Hz EM406 that we're currently using is a 5v device and all the 5Hz devices we're looking at are 3.3v. So to be compatible with both, we'll have to put a power regulator on the board (right now it just uses the RC receiver as its power supply), and that will delay us another month for board fabrication and testing.

So my question is: how important is 5Hz… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 29, 2008 at 8:30am — 9 Comments

SpaceX countdown on now!

This has nothing to do with UAVs, but it's cool all the same. SpaceX, the Elon Musk company that aims to be the first private effort to make it to orbit, is scheduled to launch their fourth attempt this afternoon, sometime after 4:00 PST. All details and live webcast as soon as they start the countdown… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 28, 2008 at 1:30pm — 4 Comments

Declocking the new ArduPilot boards

Nothing every works exactly the way you'd hoped. We're testing the new ArduPilot boards and it's looks like we'll need to tweak a few more things. One stems from our decision to run the CPU at its top speed, 20Mhz. That's the best way to get maximum performance (it gives us 20 MIPS), but it introduces some incompatibility with the standard Arduino bootloader and libraries, which for legacy reasons run at 16Mhz or… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 28, 2008 at 12:30pm — 11 Comments

Final production ArduPilot boards are in

So cool: the final production ArduPilot boards are in--they're really tiny! We just have to burn the bootloader and upload the ArduPilot code to check all the components. Assuming everything works, we'll just give our production partner the green light and three weeks later I can send you to the page with the "buy now"… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 27, 2008 at 12:00am — 22 Comments

You're never too young to pilot a Predator

Added by Chris Anderson on September 24, 2008 at 2:12pm — 1 Comment

Google Android autopilot?

Now that Google's released the open-source Android OS for cellphones, who's up for creating an Android autopilot?

You can start with our Windows Mobile autopilot code.

Added by Chris Anderson on September 23, 2008 at 10:44am — 5 Comments

Ten days till goes live

Dean Goedde's highly-anticipated Attopilot, in Pro, Basic and RTL form (estimated costs: $800, $400, $100), will have a proper home in ten days, when his site goes live. [UPDATE: Dean doesn't have an exact date for availability, but as he notes in the comment below, he expects to start taking order in 4-6 weeks, with units shipping around… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 20, 2008 at 11:30am — 21 Comments

Arduino 12 released!

Version 12 of the Arduino software IDE was released today along with a pretty lengthy list of updated features -

* Added Arduino Nano to the boards menu.

* Arduino Pro or Pro Mini (8 MHz) to the boards menu.

* Added Firmata library by Hans Steiner and others. This provides a standard protocol for… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 19, 2008 at 5:19pm — No Comments

Make a multi-core Arduino with I2C connections

Here's a great tutorial on how to connect multiple Arduinos using the I2C protocal. This is similar to what we're doing with the dual-core ArduPilot… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 19, 2008 at 2:19pm — No Comments

Free Stanford Robotics and Computer Science courses

Video lectures (sample above), syllabus and more. Cool stuff, all described here.

Here are the first ten:

# Introduction to Computer Science:

* Programming Methodology — CS106A

* Programming Abstractions — CS106B

* Programming Paradigms — CS107

# Artificial Intelligence:

* Introduction to Robotics — CS223A

* Natural… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 18, 2008 at 8:00am — 6 Comments

BlimpDuino code now in alpha

Jordi has finished the first pass on the code for the new BlimpDuino boards. It's best to consider this pre-alpha and not fully functional, but if you want to see how we read IR and ultrasonic sensors, read RC channels, drive a servo and twin motors and use PID loops to hold altitude and navigate, you'll find it instructive. It's practically a primer in Arduino robotics.

Of particular note are the PID… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 15, 2008 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Great UAV/Robotics podcast

I didn't really warm to podcasts until I got an iPhone, which I naturally sync every day (something I never did with the iPod). Now there's always fresh spoken-word content on my phone, and it's exactly the stuff I want rather than than whatever happens to be on the radio. What I want to listen to is smart shows about UAVs and robots, and fortunately, I've found one. It's called Robots, and you can get it free on iTunes or directly from its… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 15, 2008 at 9:23pm — No Comments

Zagi flying wings used as autonomous medical carriers

The South African researchers claim this Zagi flying wing can carry 500 grams of medicine or medical supplies to a location that's otherwise hard to reach. "Clinics in remote areas of South Africa can only be reached on unpaved roads that are impassable in rain," the article says. Given that the range of these electrics is just a… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 14, 2008 at 7:25pm — 2 Comments

This doesn't exist

This personal chopper is just a render from a design firm. But someone should make it real. And then autonomous, of course.

Added by Chris Anderson on September 13, 2008 at 10:16am — No Comments


This is just a gripe. Throughout the electronics world polarized components are marked with the stripe or other distinctive marking on the positive terminal. That's fine. But why is that on SMD LEDs the dot and/or green stripe is on the negative side (the cathode)? For through-hole versions,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 13, 2008 at 9:30am — 3 Comments

BlimpDuino production board release candidate

After some wasted time with expensive PCB design errors, we've finally got a release candidate of the production version of the BlimpDuino board. It's version V431.

Changes from previous versions include:

--Square, rather than rectangular, so the IR detectors are all on the outside of the board (and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 12, 2008 at 2:00pm — 5 Comments

See the Stanford Autonomous Helicoper team live on Monday

The autonomous helicopter team that we wrote about earlier will give an airshow on the Stanford campus this Monday, Sept 15th at 10:30 am. All are invited. Directions:

To Google directions,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 11, 2008 at 11:51pm — No Comments

ArduPilot and BlimpDuino status updates

As they say, the last 10% of the development takes 90% of the time. But we're getting close. Here's the latest:

--ArduPilot: we're now on the second beta of the commerical board, which will be manufactured and sold by a commerical partner to be named soon. Fingers crossed, we've finally squashed all the bugs. As soon as the manufactured boards (PCB plus robotic pick-and-place SMD component assembly) come back from our partner in a week or two, we'll optimize the code on the… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 10, 2008 at 7:48pm — 10 Comments

Everything you need to know about Paparazzi in one sentence

From the autopilot's easiest, most newbie task: inserting the boot CD:

"On some laptops, you have to enter "knoppix nopcmcia", otherwise it hangs."

In Paparazzi land, that's actually the way they talk. You have been warned.

Added by Chris Anderson on September 5, 2008 at 8:30pm — 23 Comments

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