CES: Parrot’s AR Drone

We hadn’t been here long when we stumbled upon the Drone tent. The AR Drone is a wifi controlled quadcopter that has been making waves recently. We actually got to play with one a little bit. Well, sort of. There was too much interference inside for us to fly it manually, but we did smack it around a little bit while they told us about it. It was amazingly steady and strong while it tracked a target around the tent. Check back later for more videos and details.

CES: RoBoard Robotic Hand

Today while walking around the booths, we saw a robot hand sitting out with a couple of exposed boards. This of course attracted our attention, and we thought we would share.

The hand is based on a RoBoard Vortex86DX board, which is an x86 control board. We even got the pinouts and datasheets, and we will post those later when we manage to get them uploaded.

CES: USB 3.0 Behind the scenes

We know a couple of you have been asking about the tech behind the show, and we managed to spot an FPGA (in this case, the Xilinx Virtex 5) serving as the core of a demo between two SuperSpeed USB Solid State drives. It was used as both a USB 3.0 hub, as well as being used to time the file transfers and get accurate speed reports. The Hi Res Shot is also available.

2-axis motion timelapse photography

[Milapse] picked up a motorized telescope base a few years ago. He’s using it to add motion to time-lapse photography. The base provides two-axis rotation controlled with a handheld keypad. Custom firmware and a bit of software allow for computer control. [Milapse] is pretty well-known in the time-lapse photography circles of the Inter-web. He’s posted a ten minute video explaining his setup and programming work for the hardware.

His use of a quality camera produces some nice video.However cost at $200 for the base, if you just want to play around with the concept you might want to stick to a webcam and LEGO setup.

[Thanks Jack]

Suska open source Atari ST

Got a special place in your heart for Atari computing? Now you can quench that need using new hardware. The Suska project has achieved complete hardware emulation of the Atari ST using an FPGA. The project’s progress tracker shows implementation of the major chips at 100%. They are running EmuTOS, an Atari emulator, as the operating system because running the original would violate copyright. The chip used is an Altera Cyclone III. You could load up the code on your own hardware but judging from the number of connections needed it might be less of a headache to buy a board from these guys.

[Thanks Erik]

Spy on your office

[Garagedeveloper] sent us his custom surveillance system, part 1, part 2, and part 3 after needing a way to find out why some cables at work were becoming unplugged (spoiler, the cleaners were messing up the wiring). At the base of the system is a web cam glued to a stepper motor. However, it gets much more in depth with a web front-end that allows the user to stream the feed and control the position of the stepper. We’re not particularly fond of how many different parts the project takes, while it all could be accomplished under C# with ASP.NET and parallel port library instead of including Arduino and excess code, but to each their own and the project turned out a success anyway.