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Archive for May, 2009

“Two giants of the industrial age are to appear on a redesigned Bank of England £50 note.

Scottish engineer James Watt and his business partner Matthew Boulton, from Birmingham, developed the steam engine.

Bank of England governor Mervyn King said their 18th Century innovations were essential in driving Britain’s Industrial Revolution.”

Read more about this over on the BBC News site.

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Playing with Kestrel 3 over the weekend has got me thinking about what other uses kites can have. There is a kite festival held out in one of the villages every year and I would really like to go to this years if I haven’t already missed it (its not widely advertised unfortunately – you just stumble on it as we did a couple of years back). I thought about what use a kite could serve at such an event and came up with the kite radio transmitter. When I had my allotment shed I rigged up a little radio transmitter from a hacked iTrip and was able to boost its range covering the majority of the plots and its a similar set up, coupled with a small mp3 player which would work great when sent up in the air care of kite.

The main advantage of transmitting from the air is that you can increase the broadcast range as theres no obstacles like buildings to get in the way. Another way to increase range would be aerial length. I read an article recently on how mobile phone companies were able to make their phones without an aerial. All phone aerials have to be of a certain length so building a conventional aerial into a modern compact phone was impossible and the problem was overcome by them actually printing it as part of the circuit board, very clever. I’m think the same thing can be applied to my kite transmitter. Its aerial could be printed along the kites wings edges, increasing its length whilst reducing weight.

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As luck would have it, it was the weekend and it was quite blustery – perfect conditions for kite flying…with a radio controlled camera. Especially ones recently purchased after watching reviews on Channel Five’s Gadget Show.

The Eolo Sport Spy Kite was unwrapped and powered up before we ventured out to the areas top disappointing tourist attraction. I also took my large, two string kite too and launched this one first. Sadly after 5 minutes of wrestling, the knots broke free as the winds were a little too strong and we had to pack up, retreating to lower ground for a less blustery more steadier wind flow.

As its tradition in this county for small villages to wheel out their cricket teams every weekend between the months of May to September, the planned relocation had to be relocated to the field behind the house. This sadly didn’t offer much in the way of interesting things to photograph from above but it still served as a great place to launch the latest rig in the Kestrel series.

The one criticism the tv show reported on was the inability to angle to camera to get a better shot of the ground below and with the kite only being a single string, you’re very much at the mercy of the wind. Still, using the shutter release button on the handle I proceeded to snap away. I love the fact that you get confirmation that the handle is communicating with the camera on the kite and that a photograph has been taken. Very reassuring.

Getting home I fired up the computer. My old one that is as the software only works on XP and not Vista and downloaded the lot only to discover the expected – a green field isn’t that interesting no matter what angle you view it from. There were some nice ones however of your truely some of which are below:

Kestrel 3

Kestrel 3

Now practice is needed in flying it in built up areas to get some really interesting shots.

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The New York Public Library maintains an online gallery of 700 years worth of scientific drawings. They can be viewed here.

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Engineer Mugs

Internal Combustion Engine and Steam Locomotive mugs spotted in the Museum Shop in town. I love them.

Engineer Mugs

Engineer Mugs

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Tweenbot

This is a lovely video of a little cardboard robot making his way through the park with members of the public helping him along the way.

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I recently discovered a rather fine blog called Steam, Brass, Fzz and one of their recent posts gives a detailed account of their aerial photography project assembled over the Easter holidays. The results are very impressive indeed.

Fzz Fotography

Fzz Fotography

I have recently purchased the Eolo Sport Spy Kite after getting excited about my homemade rig and seeing an impressive review of it on the television. I will be putting it through its paces when it arrives and no doubt be writing a review or two.

Eolo Sport Spy Kite

Eolo Sport Spy Kite

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