So, I'm working in a pretty cool facility this summer. Get to name my own hours, meet with folks three times a week and that's it. Big plus is that I get make, and work with robots.
Meet my new lab partner; his name is Little Dog.
He happens to be baby brother to Big Dog; here's an exceptional video of Big Dog for those who have not met.
Little Dog is the development platform for Big Dog where terrain navigation, gaits, and awesomesauce are all integrated.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Sounds a little dirty, I know, but try to keep your head level here. RobOrchestra acquired a vibraphone and we're going to turn it into a sweet robot because that's how we roll. It should be a pretty interesting project, so far the team players are Andrew Burks and Dan Shope. Our end goal starts at around the 1:05 mark in the following video:
A lofty goal? I think not. Stay tuned for more conceptual ideas on this blog, and over on mikeornstein.com for more polished updates on the Vibratron Project.
at 7:08 PM
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
So it's been a while since I haven't gotten into bed immediately fallen asleep. It probably has do with the appropriate quantity of sleep I've been getting lately combined with some strong tea. Yea, tea... pretty intense. Anyway this awakedness allowed me some serious thought time. What did I think about? Robots of course.
It took me about two hours to work it all out. I started out by fantasizing about owning an iPhone4, I mean they are so sexy after all. But, more importantly those chic little devices are now equipped with a new toy. Mr. Jobs glanced over it briefly during his Monday keynote at the WWDC claiming this addition to the iPhone (and in no time the iPod Touch I'm sure) would enhance the gaming possibilities of the platform. I agree. He was talking about a 3 axis gyroscope. We're not quite talking about the one that you might have played with as a kid, though the one in the iPhone works on a similar principle. A 3 axis gyroscope in the case of the iPhone is talking about a tiny chip deep in the guts of the phone that spits out angular velocity. Great, who cares? I care.
Accelerometers, which have been present in many consumer electronics since before the first iPod Touch, are responsible for telling a device which direction gravity is pointing. That's a nice thing to know when you want the screen on your phone to switch from portrait to landscape mode automagically. Apple has continued their integration of accelerometers in addition to the new gyros and I couldn't be more excited.
Anyone who has ever allowed me to rant to them about robots in person knows that I have a passion for a particular flying robotic platform: the quadrotor. If for some reason you are unfamiliar with this type of flying device I STRONGLY urge you watch this incredible video:
Okay, cool stuff, right?
Now that particular setup cheats a little, they don't do any of the stabilization or control on board the 'craft, they have super high precision cameras tracking its every move to crazy accuracy which makes controlling the subsequent movement almost as accurate. You get the idea.
Typically a quadrotor is outfitted with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) which includes a 3 axis accelerometer (iPhone, check), a 3 axis gyro (iPhone4, check) and a magnetometer (aka a compass, iPhone, check). So, what's the big deal, if everyone uses an IMU for this purpose, then why try and go against the grain here? Simple: IMUs are pricey. For a measly $200 and AT&T's cheapest plan an iPhone4 competes pretty well if all we wanted it for was to replace the IMU. But that's not all iPhones are good for.
In addition to the tasty gyros there's also the delectable A4 chip, Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G, and 720P Video. That's great news. Compared to similarly capable discrete devices for a quadrotor platform the iPhone is at least a $500 cheaper. Cheaper is nice. This finally leads me to the title of this entry:
FliFone or iFoneDrone?
Sadly iPhoneDrone and FliPhone .coms are spoken for, which I was unaware of late last night, so I figured I kill two birds with one stone be dodging obvious trademark issues and not getting burned on domain names. I have an important branding decision to make, no doubt.
P.S This whole plan might fall apart if it turns out that the data resolution of the gyros in the iPhone is not of flight quality. That would be sad.
at 7:40 PM
Monday, June 7, 2010
I had made myself a random little logo/desktop picture a while ago.
It looked like this:
Since then I've learned some new skills and have tried my hand at creating a pleasing 3D version with a bit of a twist. (A revolution if you want to get punny).
Anyway, fresh off the render farm:
My roomate, Andrew Burks, seems to think I have some sort of problem... turning perfectly fine 2D images into 3D images for a little while and then just rendering them back into 2D... maybe he's got a point.
at 9:28 AM