Jed Berk's original Blubberbot was the inspiration for BlimpDuino. It isn't programmable and the sensors don't work predictably, so it just sort of bumbles around, bouncing off walls and floors. But it's lovely to have around and taught us a lot about… Continue
Sparkfun is now selling the excellent 5Hz Locosys (Mediatek chipset) GPS that Dean Goedde uses in ArduPilot. We're developing a daughterboard that will allow this 3.3v module to be a plug-and-play replacement for the 5v, 1Hz EM406 GPS that we're… Continue
Welcome to ArduPilot! Here's how to compete your new board:
You should have received the basic ArduPilot board with all surface-mount components already soldered and the essential firmware already loaded on the chips. All you've got to do now is to solder on some connectors and load the autopilot software. For this first part of that you'll need a strip of breakaway headers, and three… Continue
ArduPilot has two modes: programmed waypoints and return-to-launch (RTL). In the first one, you enter in GPS Latitude and Longitude coordinates of your waypoints into the code with the Arduino IDE. In the second, you don't enter in any waypoints and the aircraft just returns to the Lat/Lon it was at when you first powered on the board (at your launch location).
I fyou're using ArudPilot 2.1 or above, you can set it up with a desktop utility, as described… Continue
This year the Coast Guard Academy's mechanical engineering department build a course around BlimpDuino, both to teach the students about aerial robotics and to help us beta test the blimp. The course was designed to help develop an aerial robotics contest and the students built… Continue
A few updates on where we stand on various projects:
--ArduPilot: Our second production candidate is now being fabbed. Fingers crossed this one works (it should!). The software is close to ready and I can see us opening up for orders within a month. Ground station software is in alpha.
--BlimpDuino: The final production candidate is in the hands of beta testers. The software is done. Now just preparing to turn our hand-assembled one-off kits into something we can mass… Continue
Carnegie Mellon research have fitted the standard Yamaha 3.5m heli platform (originally designed to fertilize rice paddies) with a custom 3D laser scanner. The result, says New Scientist, is a UAV that can hug the ground, avoiding obstacles as small as a telephone line:
"The helicopter uses two navigation strategies. First, a… Continue
HiTechnic is releasing their servo driver module for Lego Mindstorms NXT as a stand alone product. It is the same one that's in the high-priced FTC competition kit, and is similar to the prototype that I used in the… Continue
While we revise the production boards for ArduPilot and Blimpduino is being tweaked by the beta testers, work continues on ArduPilot Pro, the dual-core autopilot with built-in IR stabilization. ArduPilot Pro is also our development platform for future versions of the code and because it uses DIP version of the Atmega168 CPU it… Continue
Sparkfun releases another terrific tutorial on dumb things that mess up your PCBs and cost you a lot of time and money in sending them out to be fabbed again. I think I've made every one of these errors and then… Continue
Sparkfun has just started selling the excellent 5Hz Locosys LS20031 GPS module that Dean Goedde is using with Attopilot. It uses the Mediatek chipset, which doesn't have a binary mode, but is otherwise great at getting a lock fast and keeping it. Cost is $59.95. Details: