3D Robotics


Although both iOS and Android devices allow developers to get access to gyro/accel/mag data fusion output, it's not as low-level as developers of autopilots would like. Make Windows 8 will get closer.

From The Verge:

Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system will include improved sensor support, introducing new hardware sensors for the first time in some cases, and an easy way for developers to target and make use of the hardware with Metro Style applications. Microsoft is building in adaptive brightness, automatic screen rotation, and compass support based on a number of sensors: ambient light sensor, accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope.

Similar sensor support can be found in Android and iOS operating systems, but Microsoft also revealed its own "sensor fusion" support for Windows 8 today, a way for developers to use the power of each sensor together to combat the various weaknesses in each individual implementation. The combination of multiple sensors can provide better data for application developers, and sensor fusion appears to be designed to aggregate this. That, too, isn't a new concept, but perhaps Microsoft will make combined sensor algorithms more exposed than in the mobile realm. It's not clear exactly how accessible it will be, but Microsoft hopes the simple API support for developers will allow them to build Metro Style and desktop applications that use a variety of sensors, and in turn better apps for end users.

Developers with access to the Samsung Windows 8 slate PC can access the sensor support immediately, and other developers can purchase a development board that attaches via USB to test out the sensor experience. Microsoft's first beta copy of Windows 8 will be made available in late February, and we're expecting to hear more from hardware vendors throughout the year as they plan to bring these sensors to life inside future Windows tablets and slates.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • I presume that the fastest real-time controllers still run without an operating system at all for the lowest level control, maybe the best thing is to use a PC for trajectory generation and an Arduino for control.

  • Developer

    @John, just imagine the user adding an application service who randomly starts to eat resources at middle of flight. Those annoying times when you usually do the [Ctr+Alt+Del] to observe that a svchost.exe is using 100% of the CPU! And you even don't know what the hell it really is.

    I can just expect that it would:

    1 ...Introduce a delay on heading to a desired direction, crashing against the wall or people;
    2 ...stop and fall like a brick;
    3 ...do random acrobatics before crash.

    Unless, the owner is a windows user who knows exactly what he is doing... ops, it doesn't exist! LOL

  • Developer

    Windows is hopeless for time critical (<1ms) real-time applications. Maybe Windows 8 is better, but I have my doubts.

  • Nothing new...

  • Developer

    @Jack, you know... they're not good for the job at the "kitchen" of an UAV. There is too much "extra payload" on their processing, even running on standby. It always leans forward to big overheads.

  • @jack if windows decides to crash or reboot while mid air, that would be interesting, one possible reason to avoid windows as OS for autopilot :)
  • Full autopilot will soon be an operating system feature, which begs the question, why spend so much effort optimizing autopilots to work on RTOSes if the final result is going to be on Windows or Android/Linux?

  • Developer

    Windows 8 will come in four editions: Starter Edition (just accelerometer), Basic (will all sensor but not integrated), Professional (with sensor fusion), Ultimate (the same as Pro, but in a shiny black box). =)

    Now talking serious: I'd like to have good options of Microsoft and Linux tablets with support on those sensors. Android is great at certain point, but you have no the freedom of a real Linux. I'd like to use "shell scripts" or so. Of course there are some tricks about rooting your device to enable interesting things like Samba file sharing, etc. But, there is always some risk on screw up your device.

  • MS has concept of shared source, i am assuming some of the libraries would come out under that licence

This reply was deleted.