Quadrocopters are all the rage lately, and while we have seen our fair share of large devices, [Arnaud Taffanel, Tobias Antonsson, and Marcus Eliasson] have been dutifully working to buck that trend. Their CrazyFlie is a miniature quadrocopter that uses its PCB as the main structure of the device.
Since the goal was to use a PCB as its frame, the copter’s footprint from the edge of one motor to the other is a modest 8cm, and it weighs in at a measly 20 grams! The entire platform runs on a Cortex-M3 CPU that takes input from an accelerometer and pair of gyroscopes to help keep its balance. Wireless communications are handled via a 2.4Ghz radio transmitter, and the quadrocopter’s power is supplied by a tiny 110 mAh LIPO battery pack scavenged from an R/C plane.
All of the control and telemetry is handled by a PC, which relays control messages it receives from the pilot’s game pad to the CrazyFlie. We’d love to see if they could retain this small footprint if everything was handled by the quadrocopter itself. Either way, this thing rocks – we most definitely want one!
Stick around to see a quick video of their mini quadrocopter in action, and be sure to check out our coverage of U. Penn’s quadrocopter creations if you are interested in seeing more.
Continue reading “Mini quadrocopter is Crazy awesome”
In case you missed it, Texas Instruments sells a little robot called the Evalbot as a development platform for ARM Cortex-M3 microcontrollers. Since its release we’ve seen a few hacks on the hardware; the image above is a proof of concept for developing for the device under Linux. We have criticized TI in the past for not natively supporting Linux with their IDEs. We’re not sure how it will play out, but they have added new software package options to go along with the hardware. You’ll notice on their PR page that there is now an option to use CodeSourcery. It is a trial of the full version, but at least it is a step in the GNU direction from their previous offering.
The Hackaday team has been talking off and on with TI about the hardware. We’re happy to say that they’ve been listening to the Internet community about their likes and dislikes; following various online groups that have sprouted up to talk about Evalbot projects. It sounds like they’re thinking about hosting a contest using the hardware. So maybe you want to get your hands on one so that you can familiarize yourself and hit the ground running if/when that contest starts. You’re in luck, we can help save you a few bucks.
The first time that Texas Instruments tried out a $125-off coupon code the deal got away from them. It had been meant for attendees of the ESC Boston conference. They honored the deals that went through before the proverbial run-on-the-bank got shut down. This time around they’re using serialized deal codes to limit the number of give-aways. We’ve got 200 of them just waiting for our loyal readers to use. One code will let you purchase one Evalbot for just $25 (instead of $150).
Please take a moment to decide if you actually want (and will use) one of these robots, and decide if you are willing to shell out the $25 to order it. You see, we don’t want this deal going to waste.
If you decide this is for you, send an email requesting a code to:We’re all out! We’ll dish out the deal on a first-emailed-first-served basis. We will update this post when all 200 have been claimed.
We will not tolerate anyone gaming the system and so we reserve the right to disqualify any email submission for any reason in an attempt to maintain some semblance of fairness. Also… if you’re planning to pick this up just to resell it for cash you’re a loser.
[update: Those who emailed us requesting a code should begin receiving replies this evening or tomorrow.]
[Update 2: here is the specific bot you should be trying to buy. ]
Ubertooth Zero is the first offering in [Michael Ossman’s] quest for a Bluetooth sniffing and hacking hardware platform. We’ve seen some of his hacks in the past, like the build-in guitar tuner and some pink pager fiddling. The Ubertooth dongle is his original design based around an LPC1758 ARM Cortex-M3 processor paired with a Texas Instruments 595-CC2400-RTB1 to handle the 2.4 GHz RF communications. Looking at the bill of materials shows a very low cost for the components at just under $30 (if you can get your hands on a PCB to mount them on). He’s written firmware as well as host code to help you up start pulling Bluetooth packets out of the air as quickly as possible.
What can you do with this? That’s up to you, but whatever it is you accomplish, we’d like to hear about it.
When you see $125 off something you probably assume it cost several times that to start with. Nope, this drastic discount leaves just $25 plus shipping. Use coupon-code: 2JLP-R4XRT3 when ordering the little rover. There’s a quick video snippet of it embedded after the break.
What you’ll get is a Stellaris ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller on a board with a bunch of goodies.
- MicroSD slot
- USB host and device connectors
- I2C audio with speakers
- Ethernet connector
- 96×6 OLED display
- Bump detectors
As always, we want to hear about the hacks you come up with once you have this little guy in hand.
[update, the code is now expired]
[final update — Someone from TI explains what is going on.]
—- from the comments.
As some posts already note, the coupon code is only available to ESC Boston attendees. That said, we’re psyched about all of your interest and understand there seems to have been some confusion, so TI plans to fulfill all of the finalized orders to date. We’re working on some logistics in getting the code up and running again for ESC Boston attendees, but proof of ESC registration will be required. Stay tuned.
We hear you about the e-store and are working as quickly as possible to avoid issues in the future. Thanks for your patience.
Bottom line – we’re glad to see the excitement around EVALBOT and look forward to checking out your projects! We encourage you to share them on our e2e Forums at http://e2e.ti.com/
-Jean Anne Booth, Texas Instruments
Continue reading “$125 off the Evalbot is a steal”
The GLIP project takes the delight of blinking LEDs and combines it with the ingenuity of modular communications. This takes the Puzzlemation concept a few steps further. In that project the modules were programmed through a base station and could be removed and used as a puzzle from there. The GLIP project uses a master block that you can see tethered in the photo. But the blocks communicate with each other via an infrared protocol. This way they can be continuously updated as they are place next to each other. Each module includes an STM32F105 ARM Cortex-M3 processor, quite a punch for the little blocks. Take a look at what they can do after the break.
Continue reading “Great interactive LED puzzle”
Leaf Labs is now shipping the Maple R3 boards. [Phil Burgess] gave the platform a look just before launch last fall and the high-powered prototyping board is now even better. New features come in both hardware and software varieties. The bootloader can now be upgraded without additional programming hardware, there’s hardware SPI and I2C interfaces, and a newly-polished IDE for Linux and Windows. At $50 it’s a good way to get access to the power of the ARM Cortex M3 processor at the center of the board. We’ve seen several projects that use the mbed, which is in the same class as the Maple, but we’re waiting to see what you’ve accomplished with this little devil.
NGX Technologies sent us this Blueboard LPC1768-H to play with. It’s basically a breakout board for an NXP LPC1768 ARM cortex-M3 microcontroller (datasheet). The board adds a few extra goodies, such as a choice of mini-USB connector or barrel-jack to provide regulated power to the chip. There’s also a clock crystal for the internal RTC and an Atmel 256kb EEPROM chip. This chip has 70 I/O ports, accessed through the pin headers on top and bottom of the board. The 20-pin header to the left is for a JTAG programmer (yes, you’ll need a separate programmer). Coming in at only $32.78 this is a very accessible route for projects that require more power than some of the traditional hobby controllers. The shipping seems to have come down since NGX’s last offering, now it would be under $10 to ship to the States.
The LPC1768 is the same controller from the mbed that we reviewed. What’s missing is some of the interface hardware and the boot-loader, but the tradeoff comes with a $66 savings. This is to mbed what an AVR board is to the Arduino, a way to get even closer to the hardware.
There are a few things we think are missing. Most notably, there isn’t a datasheet or user guide for the board itself. The only information available is a schematic (PDF), but that should be enough for those already well versed in working with microcontrollers. There is also a 12MHz clock crystal on the board but it doesn’t seem to be jumpered in case you wanted to use a different frequency. We’re not sure if this is much of an issue, the internal RC oscillators offer a lot of flexibility including operation up to 100MHz.
We feel this is a solid platform that will help to get more people into ARM development because of its low price. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.