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iPhone used to control squad of UAVs


Building UAVs
is only half the work involved in making them fly; the other half is a control system. The Center for Collaborative Control of Unmanned Vehicles (C3UV) from the University of Califorina, Berkeley has devised a way to control a squad of RC airplanes with an iPhone. The system works by submitting commands and coordinates to a web site via the iPhone’s web browser. The site then sends the commands to the team of drones, which carry out the orders. The drones are outfitted with cameras and a tracking device, which allows them to be monitored on the ground using Google Maps.

The iPhone Terms of Service specifically prohibits it being used to drive remote vehicles, but that shouldn’t really pose a problem: since the orders are deployed via the iPhone’s web browser, they could technically be given by any web-enabled device. Before anyone cries foul, though, bear in mind that the idea is to issue orders from the field, and the iPhone is perhaps the most high-profile mobile web device on the market, which maximizes the project’s exposure. Still, we can’t help but think that they’d have gotten more media attention if they had used a hacked Kindle instead.

Boxee social media center public alpha


Boxee is the latest piece of software to enter the home theater PC space. It’s recently become available as a public alpha. The first build is only for OSX 10.5, but Ubuntu is coming. Built on the XBMC code base-they even hosted the XBMC developer con last weekend-it has the same goal of letting you navigate and watch/listen to all of your media from your using just a remote. There’s more than just that though.

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Servo focus and aim your telescope


The idea of using servos to aim a telescope isn’t new, but [John]‘s build looks so much like a prop from Johnny Mnemomic that we can’t resist posting it. The goal isn’t so much remote control as it is usability. He added a webcam and a pair of servos to help him fine focus and adjust the elevation of the scope to minimize vibration during those sensitive operations.

Get Firefox 3 early


It’s five hours till the official release of Firefox 3. We know your hands are sweating in anticipation, waiting to click that download link and contribute to the greatest World Record known to man… What? You don’t want your browser to have all the notoriety afforded to fat twins? Well then, let’s just go grab the file now since they’re already on the mirrors.

First, pick out a mirror from the official list. Navigate to the the directory of the Firefox 3.0 release: /pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/3.0/ You’ll be greeted by a message that says, “We’re not quite ready yet!” and that “Downloading them directly can harm our ability to distribute Firefox efficiently.” Also, you won’t be in the world record count. Think about that, jerk. All releases are named using a consistent pattern. Looking at an earlier release you can determine that the Mac version of 3.0 will be named: Firefox 3.0.dmg Add on the OS and language directories and it will look like this: /pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/3.0/mac/en-US/Firefox%203.0.dmg

You can find out more about the new release by reading Dria’s Field Guide to Firefox 3.

LA SIGGRAPH Maker Night


We coaxed our friends at Mahalo Daily into coming along with us to LA SIGGRAPH’s Maker Night. There were a handful of interesting projects there. [Univac] was showing a circuit bent Teletubby and his CellularRecombomat. [Brett Doar] brought his Bronco Table. Tired of engineers building items that made life easier, he decided to make something that made life more difficult. The table uses a piezo to detect the sound of something being set on top. It then starts twitching and bucking to shake the item free. The motors look like they’re salvaged window motors. Finally, we talked to [Mark Frauenfelder] from BoingBoing/Make about how he got into the DIY culture.

Wii upgrade breaks Twilight Hack


Nintendo’s latest menu upgrade for the Wii, version 3.3, has broken the long standing Twilight Hack. In the past, you could load a hacked Twilight Princess save game to execute arbitrary code. After the upgrade, the Wii now deletes the hacked save game. The Homebrew Channel seems to have remained intact. So, if you’ve already added it and you upgrade, you should be fine. There’s no telling how long before homebrew code will be completely locked out though.

[photo: cibomahto]