Almost 10 years ago with the community help, we released an open source robotic blimp platform based on Arduino and we named it Blimpduino. It was a really cool project, despite the limitations back then..........
And by back then I mean that we lacked cheap WiFi modules, 3D printers, and all sorts of fancy sensors! This leads us to use pieces of wood, repurposed legos parts, expensive R/C tech, bulky/heavy motors, and even a huge 2-cell lipo battery that required a charger with a balancer. Did I mention smartphone? I think iPhone 1 was not even released yet.
Now I'm very glad to announce the developer release of Blimpduino 2, a joined collaboration between mRo and JJRobots (One of the founders is Jose Julio, remember him? He created one of the first codes for quadcopters using Ardupilot 1 hardware). Well, Blimpduino 2 is nothing compared to what we released 10 years ago, here are the main improvements/features:
-Powered by a fast 3.3V ARM Cortex M0 (Arduino M0 compatible).
-A tiny laser sensor used as an altimeter (Time-of-Flight ST VL53L1).
-Efficient, powerful and ultra-light motors (Used normally on microdrones).
-The possibility to control 4 motors and 2 servos.
-WiFi ESP8266. This opens many development possibilities. Like Web-based control station (Anyone?).
-A few I2C and Serial ports available.
-3 axis gyroscopes, accelerometer, and magnetometer (MPU9250). Currently used for control assistance. Create your own Fly by Wire!
-A pressure sensor with Temperature. Could be used as an altimeter for higher altitudes.
-Easy to find, single cell lithium battery.
-Build-in Lipo Charger (via USB).
-3D printed open source gondola. Modify it or create your own!
-Open sourced Arduino code.
-Colorful and detailed documentation powered by JJrobots!
Blimpduino 2 was created with two main goals in mind:
1.-A fun platform that you can build in no-time for short-term gratification.
2.-A fully hackable, repurposable and customizable platform. Aimed to quickly entertain experienced engineers/scientist by allowing them to tweak the platform quickly, but most importantly is the perfect platform to teach young minds and expose them to programming, microcontrollers, UDP, PWM, simple PIDs and/or more advanced hardware/software technologies.
For more information and buying info please click here. =)
Blimpduino + OpenMV
This is gonna be fun. :)
Thanks for the information Chris! That sensor looks very promising, especially for the price and the footprint.
Mateusz, it's the new ST VL53L1, which is up to 4m range indoors
This looks awesome. However, the balloons on offer do not seem to have any serious payload capacity so, apart from really cool indoor toys, there doesn't seem to be a cheap, open source blimp that can be a serious alternative to a multirotor in terms of aerial photography.
Wow, that's awesome! Definitely adding an info about it to WeeklyRobotics.
I couldn't find any information on the LIDAR used onboard. Could you please share any information about the model?
So great to see this back. For history's sake, it's actually been MORE than ten years since the original BlimpDuino, which was started in Feb 2008. Here's what it looked like in April 2008:
A history of the original project is here.
Once it became a real product in 2009, it shipped in a box like this: