Helicopter POV display is a masterwork

helicopter hack LED mod

Yes! A radio control helicopter with a fairly high-resolution persistence-of-vision display is a beautiful thing. [Mziwisky’s] handiwork is the result of several steps along the prototyping path. He built up a POV test rig on a breadboard, designed his first PCB for the project, and then went to work building it. After initially being inspired by a POV ceiling fan [Mziwisky] looked around to see if anyone else had already added a display to a helicopter. Indeed, this has been done before but there were very few details on the build.

The helicopter has two blades and each have the same hardware on them and gobbled up about ten hours of assembly time each. He basically built a printed circuit board using the blades as a substrate by attaching adhesive copper foil. This makes up the matrix for the LEDs and connects to a small circuit board with an ATmega8 and some shift registers mounted on the inside end of the blade. There’s also a 180 mAh LiPo battery pack, and a hall effect sensor to synchronize the display on each. The results are spectacular, as you can see in the video after the break, but there’s a few bugs left to work out in order to fully tame the 32 LEDs on each rotor.

Kind of looks like the future is happening right now.

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Easy quadrotor helicopter instructions

Here’s a great tutorial on building your own quadrotor helicopter. This build isn’t necessarily less expensive than others we’ve seen since quality motors, propellers, and control circuitry aren’t cheap. But the design and assembly is well documented and presents a well-planned building procedure. The carbon-fiber tubes that make up the frame have extensions to protect the motors and propellers in the event of a crash. The Arduino, IMU, and transceiver are all tucked away between two aluminum body plates as well. They only thing missing is a solid methodology for tuning the four motors, a critical procedure that is just touched up at the end of the article.

Robotic helicopter that can grasp a payload

Like the Grand Theft Auto RC missions come to life, this helicopter can grasp objects for transport. They don’t have to be a special size or shape, and it can lift them even if they are not centered. This is thanks to a load-balancing hand (originally developed as a prosthesis) that relies on flexible joints and a tendon-like closing mechanism. As you can see in the video, the light-weight chopper has an on-board camera so that the operator can see what is being picked up. This little guy has no problem lifting objects that are over one kilogram while remaining stable in the air.

[Thanks Paul]

Wyvern quadcopter

[William Etter] and his classmates built a quadcopter as a class project. We love the details of these builds and they came through with some thorough documentation. Some highlights that we enjoyed were reading about ABS body design and construction, their analysis of two versus three blade propellers, and their breadboarded control mechanism. You can see their success in the most recent post, but we all know that trial and error plays a role in these builds so we’re glad they’ve shared a collection of crashes with us.

Can’t get enough of this four-rotor action? Check out this project of a similar design.

Aerial photography platforms

[Eric Austin] is using a Canon 7D with this RC helicopter to capture some amazing HD video. His success has manifested itself in a company that is now manufacturing these platforms ready-to-use. Take a look at their blog to see some of the hardware they’re working on, such as a tricopter and hexacopter photo platforms. We’ve also embedded a video after the break of the unit seen above and the stunning shots it’s able to grab.

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Hackaday links: April 28, 2010

Cell phone chopper control

Control your tiny inexpensive helicopter with a Nokia N900. The chopper uses an infrared remote control, just like a television. Getting this to work was just a matter of figuring out the IR commands and writing an app for the phone to spit them out.

Fade to black; inconspicuously

Lost interest in your TV-B-Gone? Give it one last whirl by throwing it inside of an old iPod case. The dock connector hole is just about the right size for the LEDs and the kit fits nicely in the old 3G type iPods. With this kind of disguise it should be a lot harder to spot who’s messing with those TVs.

Surf your way to a cleaner house

This guy uses a roomba to clean his floors. The Wii balance board lets him lean forward and back to surf the little bot around the room. This seems a little more exciting than the exercise programs the board was originally designed for. [Thanks DXR]

G1 gamepad

[Tobias Weber] built a gamepad for the G1 Android phone. He used an old Atari control, cut out two buttons and the d-pad, and glued them in a housing to fit the G1 keyboard. Each presses a button on the phone’s keyboard which can be mapped through the emulator software.

Social power monitoring

Here you see a very small portion of the power meter installed in a Cafe at UC Berkeley. It shows the energy usage for the building, separated into categories such as lights, power outlets, and coffee machines. This lets students know how much juice they’re draining by plugging in their gadgets. The color bar uses 93 ShiftBrite modules controlled by an Arduino.

AeroQuad – build your own quadcopter

It hurts us to look at this quadcopter, agonizingly so when we watch the video after the break. That’s because we feel the unstoppable compulsion to build one. This four-rotor helicopter has a lot to be proud of; it features Gyro stabilization, Xbee remote control for very long distance operation, and computer interface for data graphing and calibration.

We like the quadcopter that we came across at CES but building one of our own is more fun than buying it ready-made. The pain we’re feeling is mostly in our pocketbook. To help ease the agony we scoured the parts list and the assembly instructions in order to get an estimate of what this might cost. We’re looking at around $415 plus shipping, not including transmitter and receiver for controlling it.  Yep, that’s a sharp stabbing pain but we’re not sure we can just let it go.

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