Children of the 80s may remember the Big Trak, a six-wheeled programmable toy designed to explore distant planets on the other side of the living room and the vast expanse of a two-car garage. The Big Trak was re-released a few years ago and [Nathan] took quite a shine to this improved version. He was so enthralled he decided to upgrade it even more to support the LOGO programming language.
The 30-year-old version of the Big Trak had a membrane keypad where commands such as ‘drive forward 5 units’ and ‘turn 90 degrees’ can be saved and run from memory. This is very similar to the LOGO programming language with and turtle graphics and nearly identical to the Roamer LOGO robot.
To control the Big Trak, [Nathan] upgraded the electronics to a ChipKit Uno and a BeagleBone. A LOGO interpreter written in Python and uploaded to the BeagleBone. After this, [Nathan] was nearly set. He did add a WiFi interface to control his Big Trak wirelessly, a nice touch we think.
You can check out [Nathan]’s twenty-minute build video where he goes through the entire process of upgrading his Big Trak after the break.
Continue reading “Turning the Big Trak into a Turtle”
That black box is hiding all kinds of goodies that make this rover a hacking playground. [Andrey] built the device around a BeagleBoard, which offers the processing power and modules that he needed to make the rest of it work.
The control unit shrinks the pilot down to the rover’s size, using a cockpit that has a steering wheel and other controls, and a monitor playing the stream from the camera on the front of the bot. It has a WiFi adapter which allows control via the Internet. The camera, which can be rotated thanks to its servo mounting, feeds the video to the BeagleBoard where it is compressed using the h264 codec (more about that and the cockpit here) to lighten the streaming load. You’ll also find an ultrasonic rangefinder on the front for obstacle avoidance, and a magnetic compass for orientation information. Finally, a GPS bolsters that data, allowing you to plot your adventures on the map.
It’s great, but it will cost you. Material estimates are North of five hundred Euros!
Small and more powerful… what more can you want? This is the newest BeagleBoard offering, called the BeagleBone. It’s packed with some pretty intriguing features, but let’s take a tour of the hardware first.
Like its predecessors, the BeagleBone sports an ARM processor. This time around it’s a TI AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8. It will ship with a 2 GB microSD card and has an Ethernet port and USB connection. The dual pin headers on either side of the board are designed to receive ‘Capes’ for expansion. Currently a DVI cape is in the works, with HDMI and others to follow.
Linux is running on board and one of the best features we see in the video after the break is the browser-based programming interface. When connected to a network, the BeagleBone serves HTML5 web pages. One of these is an IDE that lets you write and execute code directly from your browser.
Now, can we finally have our open-hardware set top box (hopefully running XBMC)?? At an MSRP of $89 this should be able to give AppleTV 2 a run for its money as an easy way to get your television some network connectivity. Continue reading “Say hello to our little friend, the BeagleBone”
[Erik] has been keeping extremely busy with his latest project, a flexible RGB LED matrix that he calls “Project Light Bright”. The folks at BuildLounge tell us that this is the first entry they have received so far in their “Light Contest”, in which they are giving away a free laser cutter to the best entry.
[Erik] hand soldered ten 16×16 RGB LED panels together in order to build this display, and the results are awesome. The entire thing is controlled by a WiFi-enabled Beagleboard, which drives all of the panels and then some. The Beagleboard features embedded web and DNS servers, which allows it to act as a wireless AP, enabling him to control the display using any WiFi capable device. The Light Bright displays all sorts of predefined artwork, but [Erik] can also alter the display on the fly via his phone as well. The entire thing is powered by a reasonably sized LiPo battery pack that he keeps tucked away in his pocket, which allows the display to run continuously for about 20 hours.
Check out the video below to see a quick walkthrough of [Erik’s] Light Bright suit, then be sure to stop by his site for more videos, details and updates on the project.
Continue reading “Huge flexible LED matrix can be worn almost anywhere”
Take the risk of not recovering your hardware out of a near-space camera launch by streaming the data during flight. [Tim Zaman] is part of a team that developed the rig seen above. It sent 119 image back during the recent balloon launch. This included transmissions from as high as 36 kilometers.
The main hardware included a BeagleBoard with connected Webcam housed in a Styrofoam cooler for thermal protection. Pair that with a GPS module for location tracking, and a GPRS module for data transmission and you’re in business.
But that’s not all that went up. The team built a backup hardware module in case the primary failed. This one also had a GPS and GPRS radio, but was driven by an Arduino.
The radio connection made it easy to recover the hardware. GPS data led the team directly to the landing site. The package came to rest on the roof of a building, but we guess that’s more convenient than getting snagged at the top of a huge tree.
Don’t miss the hardware detail video that we’ve embedded after the break.
Continue reading “Space camera streams data during flight”
Here’s a rover project that has plenty of power (translated) to go places. This is true not only of its locomotive capability, but processing power as well.
The RC car used here (translated) is not overly expensive, but offers a lot of versatility. It’s got front and rear steering via two servo motors, as well as independent drive motors for each end. The frame also offers an advanced suspension system that lets the vehicle flex to keep as many wheels on the ground as possible. It’s a great find if you don’t want to start off your project bogged down in the hardware design.
On the control side of things a Beagle Board has been choosen. The demo after the break shows it controlling an added turret servo, as well as the drive mechanism controlled via a keyboard. These are driven through the embedded Ubuntu image running on the board. This should provide plenty of processing power to add obstacle avoidance and autonomy routines in future versions.
Continue reading “RC car and Beagle Board mate for a versatile robot build”
This daughterboard lets [Matt Evans] drive a laptop LCD using a Beagleboard. Apparently the Beagleboard gained a VGA header when it moved to revision C but [Matt’s] working with revision B4 which is why he had to do all of that ninja soldering with the blue wires. The driver board itself is a thing of beauty, hosting a DS90C363 LVDS serialiser as well as some buffer chips that handle level conversion for it. He’s also included an ATmega48 so that he has some options for future improvements.
The LCD is mounted in a custom acrylic case, with Beagleboard and driver board taped to the back of it. There’s RS232 and a USB hub which opens up the possibility of using a WiFi dongle for communications. So far he doesn’t have much functionality other than displaying images on the screen but there is some talk about using a touchpad for control. We’d love to see a touchscreen overlay, transforming the build into a proper ARM-based tablet.