3D Robotics

Meet the Developers: "Hazy" (Xiaojiang Huang)


Here's one of my favorite stories about the power of community. In May this year, it was reported here that Chinese companies were making and selling APM clones, and had even translated the manual into Chinese. People wanted to know what we were going to do to stop this "piracy", but I pointed out that such derivative designs were both allowed and encouraged by our open source hardware model. 


As I wrote in that thread:

Personally, I'm delighted to see this development, for four reasons.

  1. I think it's great that people have translated the wiki into Chinese, which makes it accessible to more people.
  2. It's a sign of success-- you only get cloned if you're making something people want.
  3. Competition is good.
  4. What starts as clones may eventually become real innovation and improvements. Remember that our licence requires that any derivative designs must also be open source. Think how great would it be if a Chinese team created a better design than ours. Then we could turn the tables and produce their design, translating the documentation into English and making them available to a market outside China. Everybody wins! (Hey, a guy can dream ;-) )


Eventually, a user named "Hazy" replied in the thread:

I am the guy who translate the wiki into Chinese. It is also open source, I welcome anyone for copying, distributing and modifying the Chinese pages. I keep the links to official English wiki, diydrones, and sparkfun so that the readers can know who propose the original works. This is usually required by the open source license. I would also like to dedicate translations and merge them into the official wiki repository if it is preferred.


I do not gain any benefit from the sales of Chinese clones of APM,


This was just what I had hoped for. So I gave Hazy edit permission on the wiki, and he did exactly that. Today we have a full Chinese translation of the wiki on the Google Code site that shares images with the English wiki and is thus sync'd with the latest revisions. 


But that's not all. He then did a Chinese UI version of the Mission Planner and in the process made a few bug fixes to the English code, too!  This is exactly what an open source project is designed to encourage, and I'm proud to count Xiaojiang Huang as part of the Dev Team.


Over to him:


Name: Xiaojiang Huang


Home: I currently live in Beijing, China. My family live in XinYu, JiangXi Province, a small city about 1300 kilometers from Beijing.


DIYDrones roles: In this project I mostly worked on localization of documents and resources. I first translated the wiki pages of APM and ACM into Chinese language, and then I added a Chinese UI to the new APM Planner.


Day Job: I am a PhD student in Peking University, China. My research interests include web mining and text mining.


Background: I study computer science in the collage. My experience mostly lies in windows and network application development, such as page crawler system, automatic document summarization system, etc. I learned a bit about AVR programming. Fortunately the localization work requires little beyond my knowledge.


When I was a kid, I was fascinated by all kinds of models, and I wished I could have a RC plane. At several years later, I was able to afford a RC helicopter when I graduated from collage. I also got RC trucks and planes. Sometimes, I am derided as naive for playing "toys", but I'm happy because it's my child dream. I met APM by chance when I was surfing the web, and was attracted by its powerful functions. Some friends of mine were also interested in it, but they felt a little inconvenient because of the English documents. So I tried to translate them into Chinese, hoping to reduce the difficulty of playing APM for the Chinese fans. Thanks to the great work of DiyDrones, and I wish it could help more people make their child dreams come true.


Interest: I’m a fan of all kinds of RC models, and I fly RC helicopter most frequently. I’m also interested in DIY electronic projects and puzzle games.


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  • The problem with this Chinese translation is that you are encouraging people who don't speak English to get into aviation, where it is required that you speak English.

    While it might be fine to fly things at a "toy" level with visual contact at all times, any time you need to communicate with others at air traffic control or other pilots you need to know English or you will be endangering lives.

  • Xiaojiang Huang 你好!



  • Developer

    Nice to meet you Hazy! =)

  • The DIYDrones.com is not banned right now, neither is the Wiki pages of Google Code. However, the git repository is actually banned with no reason. Fortunately, the "great firewall" is not admitted by the government, so we are breaking a wall that never exists! Nothing is illegal. :)

  • Developer

    What I find interesting is that they access DIYDrones.com from China. When I was in Beijing all the social networks including DIYDrones (hosted @ Ning) were banned. =) Reminds me when I was a kid in Mexico and I was unable to afford any software so I had to "break" some close source rules in order to succeed. Congrats! ;-)

  • 3D Robotics

    Wayne: APM is just an arduino board. What makes it an autopilot is the open source code, which is exempted from export control by the public domain exemption in the ITAR regs.

  • Yep, and the joke is, all those are made in the Far East anyway..........

  • Yes, the APM and Oilpan are just a weather station electronics. No ban for that I suppose.

    If any potential autopilot electronics is banned no gyro, accel, baro and GPS (of course) will be exported.

  • Mmm, if no code was loaded into the unit, it wasn't an autopilot, merely a non-functioning collection of electronic parts.

  • 100KM
    Has anyone considered the legal ramifications of circumventing ITAR ?
    Not drawing any conclusions myself but one can say an American exported an autopilot design to china.
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