Sunday, November 22, 2009

No Chipotle's for me!

I know this is completely off topic. For the 3rd and final time, I do not eat Chipotle's. I have gotten royally sick eating there every time I have eaten there. Guess I am a Moe's man.

WTF you have to pay for soggy chips and no queso? What were they thinking? Moe's rules!

I was sick all day Saturday having been attacked by either Jimmy John's or Chipotle's. So Both are right out. It was a miserable GI problem, I thought my gut was going to explode.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

So Much For our Idea

We were thinking that we could roll our Schoolgirl UAVs with some great NEU 1915/1.5Y motors to swing our huge props in a dual-motor configuration. I am sure it would work, but I think we will put it into a pusher configuration.

We kind of knew that the motors were big. I got a pair of these 2.7kW beasts from the guys down at Esprit Model in Palm Bay,FL. They are another great supplier of rc stuff. Esprit Model is good about not advertising that they have hard to find stuff and then them being out of stock. Better to know, than to get an email two weeks later saying that they cleared your payment but that you will not get anything for four weeks.

So I got these beer cans. I mean the motors are as big as beer cans. Not an issue, they look great and have built in fans to help with air flow (heli version). I just think that motors are way too big for our school girls. The kevlar skin that we used is way too dense for the skin application. The carbon fiber equivalent material was great and the other airframe came out pounds lighter. I thought I could pay the piper by just putting down more power. It is not going to work that way. We will have to put it in a pusher configuration.

That is one of the cool things about the school girl. We can run with two under-wing motors, as a puller or a pusher. The changes do not effect the airframe much and really are about moving some power wires in the fuselage. It is really convenient. I hope the balsa kits come out well, it should be a great sport flier.

Facebook Advertising 3400 people exposed 5 hits received

This week, I ran a basic advertisement to see how effective it would be. I cross-posted a philanthropic interest for Veteran's Day. If I sold any of the following shirts,

shirt #1 or shirt #2

My idea was to donate any proceeds to the Alachua County Veterans of Foreign Wars post. They do lots of work at the Gainesville VA hospital. I sent it to three veteran's groups for 3400 possible people. I got 5 hits. Woohoo!

Ok, not the glorious turn out that I had hoped. However, it was an interesting thing that it was such a huge failure. I guess it did not cost me anything, but I would happily donate any proceeds from these shirts to help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

More adventures in internet marketing as I come up with them. Reddit ok, I thought I would get more traffic by getting into some of the track back systems. put up 120 links, not one had anything to do with my content. Heck, even Google AdSense has trouble with this. From what I can see, it is not so good at uncommon keywords. So short of articles of white panties on eastern European schoolgirls I am not sure how helpful AdSense is even for my topics.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Special Thanks to Willy from

A special thanks to Willy from He is knowledgeable, friendly, freaky fast. I mean he is faster than Jimmy John's sammiches at lunch time. Check out Willy's site for fast, courteous service and great prices on rc stuff and UGV cross-over information.

Thanks again Willy!

If you were an UGV, what kind of truck would you be?

This week I have been digging into the 2d plane again. Yeah, that sounds kind of odd, but I think it is pretty accurate. I am looking for a platform that will let me test my own avionics and code in a way that will not have $10k at 300' and then in a heartbeat have it smashed into dust . The ground does rush up pretty quickly at the wrong times.

One of my colleagues at my real job has egged me on, so I have been evaluating what it takes to get my software to work in a constant altitude kind of setup. Ok for all non-geeks, it means on a truck. I think that the premise has been tossed around several times.

I found that several things during this evaluation. One, electric 1/5th scale trucks are not common. There are lots of 25cc gasser trucks. The three that I was reviewing were:

HPI Baha 5T

NuTech Mega Monster

Redcat Racing

After reading a bunch of information about all of these chassis, and 10's or 100's of reviews and projects. I even found 1 from Sony on the HPI... The Nutech seems to be ahead in the research. It does not weigh as much as the Redcat. The Nutech is Chinese, try not to just mail money to them these days. The HPI has great reviews but is significantly more expensive. I have not found anything to say that one is better than the others. So it may come down to weight and cost.

I will not be using the 23-26cc engine. It will be replaced with some pretty beefy NEU motors and a lot of LiPo. My Mini9 will probably be its brain for the foreseeable future. I do need to work on a COM to handle the code.

Kind of cool to watch the movies of these guys flipping around. I know mine won't do it, but will get its fair share of curb crashing I am sure.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ok, I guess it should not bother me

I have been researching the Android 2 as a robotics platform. Several people have weighed in to say that the only big advantage of Google's Android 2 is that it is essentially free to distribute. However, it has other overhead that has to be overcome. It has to be recompiled per processor, so there is more to sourcing cpus and instruments for it.

I did find in my rolodex that Toradex has a Limestone PDA kit that claims to boot Android 1.6. I have to keep looking. One of my mad scientist ideas is the multiple chips flying closely together to distribute computing projects into manageable chunks. I will keep looking for more. I am not an EE so it is important these solutions be mostly plug and play.

The only "robot" stuff, that I have found before are canned apps from canned boards. I guess I was thinking robot not rc kit. Yeah, I use a lot of rc stuff, but I am not looking to directly control the devices at every turn. They should have increasing levels of autonomy. However, I do have to say that I like that some companies have the same idea that I do. The kit I have found that has the most coverage is the Surveyor SRV-1. It looks interesting enough, but PIC sucks. ;) An interesting couple of "rc toys" on Android movies can be found at

Friday, November 6, 2009

Android 2 or windows 7

I saw this and liked it. If anyone has any real reason to choose one over the other without the opensource vs. proprietary hate. I would be interested in hearing it. The thrust is for robotics and control systems, not multi-media or similar applications.

UGV autopilot

Taking the lessons learned from the UAV stuff, I am trying to trim down the UAV pilot to a UGV pilot. The two have different requirements so I am hoping that it can all be put into the mission planner. I have found playing with the UAV autopilot that the event driven solution works well, but is a bit honery.

So I am working on a bus model. Where the individual managers all call into the bus to pass messages, then the bus manages the message delivery. This should decouple the messaging. I was trying to avoid the inevitable hard coding of observers and subjects in the code. This would make the relationships less fixed and hopefully ini-file-able.

I have some other lessons learned about this.

One other question, does anyone have any opinion of Java on Android 2 rather than c#.NET on Windows 7? They would both target netbooks or computer on modules (COM). Let me know if anyone has any practical/constructive opinions of these platforms. info "at"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stereographic Vision

I have been messing with the AForge library now for a week. It is the best known and rated .net image processing library. Everyone has tried CV and getting the interop wrappers to work is tough. I have given up several times myself trying to just get all of the constants wrapped.

I have been working on a version of their two camera tracking system. My cameras are a bit lager pixel counts than his, and I think that is where some of my timing issues are coming from. I think that the other piece that is beating me at the moment is the revisualization part of it. I think my composited movie needs to be output through the player control or just written to disk. I will have to monkey around with it. It may turn out that the movie meeds to go 360p or something to this effect and increase the frame rate.

I am pretty sure that it is not a processing power thing, more about crappy code on my part. If the frames are smaller, my inefficient algorithms will probably be less impacted. I may also have some other ideas on how to composite the video, frame-wise may also be a bit on the slow side. Let's go for snappy. I have enough to do what the original project was intended for. It can track an object in the scene. Now, I need to get it up so that I can pick which object to track.

Will keep everyone posted.