3D Robotics

Meet the Developers: John Arne Birkeland

3689420151?profile=originalNext in our Meet the Developers Series is John Arne Birkeland, who along with Olivier Adler, who you'll meet next, leads our PPM encoder team.


The PPM encoder is a bit of software you never hear about, mostly because it works really well in the background converting RC signals into something it's easier for a microprocessor to use.  It's the software running on APM's Atmega328 secondary processor, and it also serves as the board's failsafe.


APM currently uses a derivative of the original Paparazzi PPM encoder code, but John Arne and Olivier found that it didn't handle certain radios and channels above four well, so they rewrote it (it's here--they're still looking for beta testers!)


More importantly, they've also written a brand new PPM encoder for the Atmega16u2 chip, which is used in the PhoneDrone board and future DIY Drones products. This is, I'd venture to say, the best PPM encoder ever written, and will make these products rock-solid in handling RC signals from all sources.

Over to John Arne!


Name: John Arne Birkeland

Home: At Karmøy, an island located at the west coast of Norway.

DIY Drones role: PPM encoder co-team leader. I joined the dev team recently and started working on the new PPM encoder when Chris posted a blog asking for help combining the PPM firmware with the new Arduino USB-Serial chip used by the UNO and MEGA2560 boards. As usual the project has grown outside the original parameters and is now also a contender to replace the original APM PPM firmware with new features like PPM pass-trough and native support for Spektrum and Jeti receivers in the works.
Day job: I work as a electrical engineer at Imenco, developing subsea video and cameras and equipment for the offshore industry. Most of my time is spent designing and implementing systems to meet special custumer requirements using our equipment and programming the software for them (x86 and micro-controllers).
Background: Where to start.. My main interests in life has always been technology and media and I have been lucky enough to find work where I could combine them. I worked in production at a local TV station for while. Later I worked for a company where I was in charge of developing a specialized MPEG based multi-screen video playback system for high end installations in theaters etc. I even had a short run as a 3D animator, video editor and photographer. But I found out I like working with electronics and programming better and have stuck with that since. 
As a curiosity I used to compete in something called the "Demo Scene" when I was in my teens. Basically it is a bunch of like minded geeks gathering at "Demo Parties" ranging from hundreds to sometimes thousands of people competing to see who could make the best demos (real-time multimedia computer presentations). Fun times where we learned to write very efficient code using all sorts of hacks that would best be described as ..interesting..
Interests: I have flown R/C airplanes and helicopters for the last 4-5 years and love to experiment, finding out what flies and what does not (everything flies if you add enough power and gyros). I am also a home-cinema enthusiast and have spent way to much time (and money) building my own "cinema" at home. I am also into martial arts and instruct Kickboxing at the local gym.
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  • Hei

    Er på jakt etter en Norsk gruppe for å kunne få til treff etc. Noen som vet om noe ?

    Hilsen Tommy

  • Kult. Vi får arrangere en meeting i Norge ved anledning!

  • Developer

    Nice to meet you John. ;)

  • Hey, a scener! We rarely hear of your breed from that side of the pond. Anyway, thanks for your input in this project.

  • This a scaled plane, really? Or are you a giant (coder)?

  • Moderator
    Thanks for all your work, nice plane btw :)
  • Developer

    Nice to meet you John, and thanks for your work on the PPM encoder!


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