This is the Kyosho Blizzard, a tracked remote control vehicle that’s a blast to take out in the rapidly retreating snowpack. [Antibore] was interested in performance testing the range of the thing. It includes a camera that streams video back to a tablet or smartphone. Both the video and the controls use WiFi for communications. As he expected, the rover loses control signal at about fifty meters, with the video has a disappointing twenty meter limit. His workaround is to saddle the crawler with a 3G bridge. Not a bad idea that may be feasibly completed with hardware you have on hand.
In this case he grabbed a Beagleboard-XM. It runs embedded Linux and has USB ports which is perfect for the other two parts of the added hardware: a Huawei E230 3G dongle and a WiFi dongle. This means no alterations to the rover were necessary. He set up OpenVPN and performed a few other tweaks. The WiFi signal is constant, as the transmitter and receiver are both attached to the rover. We just wonder about the latency of the 3G traffic. Let’s hear your thoughts on that in the comments below.
We would be remiss if we didn’t tie-in the potential of this hack. Previously this winter we saw a Kyosho with a 3D printed snow thrower attached to the front. More snow removal power, arguably unlimited range… you can do your entire block from the comfort of the couch. To the Future!
We’ve seen Arduino-powered Twitter machines, and even some that can send text messages, but how about one that’s a video phone? That’s what the guys over at Cooking Hacks put together with their very impressive 3G Arduino shield.
On board the shield is an internal GPS receiver, microphone, speaker, 3G module, and a camera sensor with VGA resolution. The 3G module is able to act as a 3G modem via a USB connection, allowing any computer to take advantage of wireless Internet with a SIM card.
While in their tutorial the guys use a terminal running on their computer to send AT commands to place a call, it’s possible to simply put all that info in a sketch making for a small, battery-powered video link straight to your cell phone. Seems like the perfect piece of hardware for a wireless, 3G-enabled video feed for a robot. You can check out the video from their tutorial after the break.
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[Drug123] made the most out of this inconspicuous gray box on the gable end of his father’s home. It serves up a 3G Internet connection that was otherwise unavailable..
The project idea was sparked by the absence of wired or fiber optic broadband in the community where his dad lives. He knew some neighbors were using 3G connections, but he couldn’t get it to work inside the house. So he set about developing an external installation that would both communicate with the cellular network, and provide a WiFi connect to it. Hardware for that is relatively expensive; a USB 3G modem and a WiFi router with a USB port.
The box itself is made of plastic, but even without the Faraday cage effect that would have been formed by using a metal housing, the 3G modem’s internal antenna just doesn’t do the job. You can see that [Drug123’s] solution was an external antenna which is mounted at the peak of the roofline. Inside the box there’s an exhaust fan to cool things off when they get too hot, as well as some power resistors which provide a heat source on the coldest nights. The low-cost build certainly fits the bill, and it’s not too hard on the eyes either.
It seems that the iPhone 2g and 3g are the newest phones to get Android 2.2, codenamed Froyo. The process for installing Froyo if you have a jailbroken device seems to get even easier every time, with this revision being as simple as adding a repository, downloading Froyo, and pressing go. Follow the link for a wonderful step by step guide, complete with screenshots to take out all of the guess work. Android on iPhone sure has come a long way since the first time we covered it.
[bunnie] has taken a few moments to show us how to turn our Chumby One into a 3g router. As it turns out, there is an easter egg that allows it to communicate with certain models of 3g dongles. There’s no GUI for this trick, so you’ll be doing most of your configuration via SSH. That shouldn’t be a problem for this crowd though. The Chumby One just got a lot more appealing.
[Rob] sent in his Dell mini 9 3G install. He bought the Dell without the 3G option, but found that he really wanted it. He installed a mini pcie bracket and found a sim connector that matched the specs he needed. Apparently they use one that it rare as it uses the first pin to indicate whether or not there’s a card loaded. He pulled the mini pcie 3G card from a cheap USB adapter. After soldering it all in place and firing up OS X, he was able to connect, without issue. He says the reception wasn’t great, so he’ll need to add an antenna. This is similar to the process seen on the Acer aspire one 3G hack. Since you’re already in there, you might as well add a GPS while you’re at it.
Bug Labs, the company that makes modular electronics that allow you to build your own tech doohickeys quickly and easily, has announced five new modules: BUGprojector, a mini DLP projector developed in conjunction with Texas Instruments, which sounds very much like the tiny DLP projector we posted about last week; BUGsound, an audio processing module with four stereo input/output jacks, a microphone, a speaker, and builtin hardware codecs; BUGbee (802.15.4) and BUGwifi (802.11 and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR), which will let you connect wirelessly with your PAN and WLAN, respectively; and BUG3g GSM, for connecting to (you guessed it) 3G GSM networks. In conjunction with Bug Labs’ existing series of modules, especially the highly versatile BUGvonHippel universal module, you’ll be able to create some pretty kickass gadgets. No word yet on pricing, although Bug Labs expects to ship by the end of Q1 2009.