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Archive for the ‘Tinkering’ Category

Nodecopter 2013

Last month I attended the Nodecopter event at Southampton’s Hackerspace So Make It. The group was divided up into small teams, given a quadcopter and working with Node.js were left to come up with something fun.

The team I was in comprised of some really nice chaps and our drone started to read and act upon plain text instructions held in front of it on flash cards. It’s already given me an idea to add to my ongoing list to improve on projects here and I’m already starting to put something quick and dirty together.

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My First App

After months and months of getting to grips with app design, the little idea I had last year has finally taken form and is now a free app in Google Play’s app store for people to download and use. Search for “Draw Stuff” or you’ll find it if you click here.

This is proof that anyone with an idea can put it into practice. If I can do it then anyone can.

Draw Stuff App

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I have been working on getting the kite computer running off a couple of solar panels and have finally succeeded. As a little extra I added Bluetooth functionality so that instead of displaying the data on an lcd screen it will now communicate with the phone that the rig uses as its camera, sending over the data which will eventually get saved on the phone’s sd card.

I am really pleased with how far Kestrel has come on.

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I have switched to the smaller Aduino Nano for use in my kite flight recorder and this has enabled me to squeeze it into a tiny box that makes it look so nice. It even glows blue when it’s processing data which is rather cool. To recap it takes the temperature and pressure and using a bit of crazy maths in the form of the Hypsometric equation and logs the highest and lowest temperature and altitude extremes.

I have noticed a bit of a problem with it and that is for it to accurately plot your correct starting altitude it needs to know the current pressure at sea level in order for the equation to work. However, this really doesn’t bother me too much as it can measure the height gained accurately.

Of course with anything I make my chief tester puts it through its paces out in the field. Click here to see the video of Charlie Chief Tester.

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I have built something that works. It has taken me months of programming play to get this far. Following on from my success the other night, I once again put the Hypsometric equation to good use and got my arduino starting to calculate altitude, recording and displaying it on a small LCD screen. I love how compact it all is. It’s a thing of beauty. Check out my video of it here.

I took it for a walk yesterday and as I feared the fluctuating readings do cause quite a large margin of error. All part of the testing process though and what I learnt will be fed back into the project.

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Let’s make a kite camera rig. Check out my footage taken from my kite in the video below.

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Let’s start making the kite computer using arduino. This video shows how it records temperature.

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