before, for the second version of our Minimum Blimp Jordi and I decided to mod a RC toy blimp on the grounds that it will be cheaper and more robust than trying to build the whole mechanical assembly ourselves (the aim is to have a fully programmable and hackable blimp UAV kit for less than $100). Jordi started with $15 toy
(gondola shown above), ripped out the RC electronics and built his own Arduinio board, IR sensor package and added a Ping))) sensor for altitude hold. Here are a few shots of the first version (please forgive the protoboard disasters--we'll neaten it up for the next rev!)
Underside of the blimp gondola, showing custom IR sensors for navigation and Ping))) ultrasonic sensor for altitude hold. (enlarge to check out the DIYDrones branding on the IR board!)
Inside of the blimp gondola, showing the custom Arduino board. This Toy blimp just got a major brain transplant!
We'll be showing a more polished version of this blimp at the FIRST Robotics National Championship
in Atlanta, April 17-19.