Chris Anderson's Blog – November 2007 Archive (11)

OpenAerialMap: like a wikified GoogleMaps

We love GoogleMaps, but one of the problems with it is that you can't really add your own data to it. Sure, you can superimpose your imagery on a GoogleMaps layer, but it won't show unless people use a special URL. That's the reason for the creation of OpenAerialMap.…

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Added by Chris Anderson on November 30, 2007 at 3:43pm — 3 Comments

Finally, FAA rules on small UAVs in the works?

If you missed it in the news feed at the lower left, the FAA is making some progress on a common-sense regulatory framework for small UAVs like ours (at the moment, we're all flying under some outmoded 1980s guidelines that are, to be generous, a legal gray area). I like the sound of a category for small UAVs that recognizes their limited risk, but my concern in the below is the phrase "vehicles would have to be kept within sight of the operators" part (it's not clear if that would apply both… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 29, 2007 at 12:14am — 1 Comment

Lego GPS autopilot code now in beta!

Big news: we've finally got a version of the Lego UAV that's based on GPS! The previous versions used a compass sensor as a proof of concept, but we've now upgraded it to use a third-party GPS receiver, connecting to the Mindstorms NXT brick by Bluetooth. This allows us to employ… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on November 26, 2007 at 8:31am — 8 Comments

Cellphone UAV code now in beta, available here

In my focus on the Lego UAV, I forgot to mention that I've also uploaded the Visual Basic source code for our cellphone autopilot. It's in pretty good shape, and just needs a little more tweaking for reliable airbone use. If you're comfortable with Visual Studio and…

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Added by Chris Anderson on November 26, 2007 at 12:00am — 3 Comments

Impressive new quadrotor UAV with camera board

You may have missed it in the discussion threads at left, but Howard Gordon has been doing some terrific work combining his robot and camera control boards with UAV platforms. The latest uses the quadcopter platform that the X-UFO/X3D guys in Germany developed. Check out his full post…

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Added by Chris Anderson on November 25, 2007 at 5:19pm — No Comments

A budget for a high-end amateur UAV

An amateur UAV maker in Los Angeles built a UAV designed to fly 21 miles, from Long Beach to Catalina Island and back. It was notable especially for having the motor moved to a pylon above the wing and a pan-tilt gimbal camera put in the nose instead (see picture). This thread about it…

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Added by Chris Anderson on November 22, 2007 at 10:32pm — No Comments

Use an open-source flight simulator to test your UAVs

Tom Pycke, who is one of the more sophisticated UAV hobbyists, has a good post showing how to use the open-source Flight Gear simulator program to test your autopilot code.

He begins:

"A lot of people think they need great electronics skills, a lot of time, and embedded programming skills to experiment with Kalman filtering of IMU-data. Think again! The key to all your success stories is…

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Added by Chris Anderson on November 21, 2007 at 8:23pm — 4 Comments

MAKE magazine on DIY blimp UAVs

The cover of MAKE magazine this month is a how-to on "blubberbots", which are small indoor blimp UAVs (story only for subscribers for the moment--subscribe! It's worth it). You can buy a kit from the MAKE store for $99 that will…

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Added by Chris Anderson on November 18, 2007 at 5:23pm — 2 Comments

Antarctic mini-UAVs--will they come back?!?

These scientists describe their UAV project at the South Pole. Sound familiar?

"Flying a mission is always a little scary. Tom, the project engineer and pilot, stands by with his remote control and flies it a little until a stable flight is acheived,…

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Added by Chris Anderson on November 18, 2007 at 5:06pm — 8 Comments

The best programming language for Lego Mindstorms, hands down

Play around with Lego Mindstorms NXT enough and at some point you'll inevitably get frustrated with NXT-G, its graphical programming language of "blocks" that you drag around and connect with "wires". It's great for teaching kids the basics, but once they embark on anything remotely ambitious they're bound to run into trouble. Whether it's the crazy sprawl of blocks over the work area (even a simple loop can require screens of slow horizontal scrolling), the lack of floating point…

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Added by Chris Anderson on November 12, 2007 at 3:22pm — 6 Comments

Watch the DARPA Urban Challenge Live--NOW!

If you ask me, this is better than NASCAR. The DARPA Urban Challenge (robot cars race though a town) is being webcast live now.

Very well done live video is here, with color commentators, helicopter views and tons of team cams. Go…

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Added by Chris Anderson on November 3, 2007 at 10:40am — 3 Comments

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