YARB robotic blimp controlled by Google Android G1 phone

The open source Google Android G1 phone seemed like an obvious platform for wireless robotic control, so we created an Android-based console. After running this first with the ground-based Surveyor SRV-1 robot, we made a few small modifications and used it to control the Surveyor YARB. The tilt sensors in the Android phone work quite nicely for rotor control - we have proportional steering so the amount of tilt controls the amount of power, and live video is displayed on the Android screen from the blimp's onboard Surveyor SRV-1 Blackfin camera, carried via the same radio channel that sends the control signals.

The project is hosted on Google Code at code.google.com/p/srv1console/ as well as www.surveyor.com.

Here are some first flight videos -

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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on February 15, 2009 at 1:28pm
Sweet! Now just gotta get one of those phones....
Comment by Howard Gordon on February 15, 2009 at 1:32pm
I held out for a while on getting a smart phone, but finally took the plunge with Android. I think this will prove to be a good choice because of the open source approach Google has taken and the quality of their development tools.
Comment by Michael Evans on February 15, 2009 at 1:32pm
WOW! that's awesome! great work keep it up.
Comment by Jack Crossfire on February 15, 2009 at 4:56pm
So this is using 802.11. The JVM is actually fast enough to convert the JPEG's into RGB & blit video using Canvas.drawBitmap. If it was a hobby you could replace the Android stack & run it in C, but obviously to support a business you need to stick with Java. Wonder if the console can run out of the box on a laptop JVM or if it took some Android hacks.
Comment by Howard Gordon on February 15, 2009 at 5:37pm
Yes - direct 802.11 or the 3G phone network routed to an 802.11 network.

The Android API is specific to the device, but we have a couple of other Java consoles that you could use as the basis for a laptop console. Take a look at SRV1Test.java or SRV1Console.java. SRV1Test.java is simply compiled with "javac -classpath . SRV1Test.java", and it supports TCP or UDP connections.
Comment by John on February 16, 2009 at 12:42pm
Well, since I have the phone , I have a new project.
Comment by Howard Gordon on February 18, 2009 at 4:03pm
Comment by Developer on November 3, 2009 at 7:14am
Excellent article, I personally really like cellular technology, several of my research I have specialized in operating systems of mobile technology and accessories in addition to being part of the organization of Affiliate Programs Directory which is a very important organization in the world technology, this world of software and hardware is great ... thanks for sharing the article!
Comment by John Rivera on November 7, 2009 at 4:47pm
AWESOME!!!, do you think that i would be able to transmit a video feed from an android device w/ 3G to a server on real time?
Comment by Howard Gordon on November 8, 2009 at 8:23am
Don't know. We're only using Android to receive and using the SRV-1 Blackfin board to transmit via Wifi.


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