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Adding Node.js based sensors to the Parrot AR drone

[Max Ogden] wanted the option to add sensors to his Parrot AR Drone. This a commercially available quadcopter which runs Linux. This makes it rather easy for him to use Node.js to read the sensors from an Arduino board. The use of the Arduino is merely for easy prototyping. It is only needed to bridge the drone’s serial port with a sensor’s delivery method, so just about any microcontroller could be substituted for it.

There are some hardware considerations to take into account. The manufacturer was nice enough to populate a 0.1″ pitch pin socket on the serial port (if only this kind of invitation to mess with hardware was an industry standard). But the device expects 3.3V levels so pick your hardware accordingly. There is one commenter who tried the project for themselves and found that the drone wouldn’t boot up with the Arduino already connect — he had to boot and then complete connections. Troubles aside this makes adding your own sensor payload very simple and you don’t have to wait until landing to get at the data.

Maybe we’ll have to add some shock voltage data reporting to our shockerDrone.

Comments

  1. Robot says:

    This is so much WIN. More evidence that my low level hardware oriented career path is becoming obsolete.

    • bunedoggle says:

      “More evidence that my low level hardware oriented career path is becoming obsolete”

      Because as everyone knows, hardware now grows on trees now. I can’t wait to pluck my crop of faster, smaller, more efficient microcontrollers once they’re ripe.

      I think you need to look at it the other way around, with the fantastic abstractions we’ve provided for coding and the ability to contribute to shared libraries, everyone is becoming a programmer with no need for formal training.

      Some, albeit fewer, are creating their own PCBs. But nobody is making home brew silicon…yet.

      When Makerbot can print an open source, multi-core ARM chip, then you can start regretting your EE degree, maybe.

  2. marcus says:

    to run a js script, I need the nodejs engine on the machine.
    my question: is the nodejs engine is already on the Parrot AR drone?

  3. I must be missing something. Why on earth would you read sensor data into Node? As far as I can tell he’s simply accessing the UART with Node’s serial lib. What’s the big win here?

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