S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli Carrier brought to life

This fantastic work by [Native18] shows a quad copter reproduction of the Heli carrier used by the Avengers. Following this thread (translated), you can follow along his thought process as well as his build process as he proceeds. The construction is mainly paper and lightweight foam, but it still manages to float and even take off from the water.

We’ve seen other aircraft carrier designs before, but not many this well polished, and none that took off from water.

[via technabob]

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Quadrotor opera begs for lasers and Pink Floyd

In case quadrocopters aren’t cool enough, here’s an orchestrated quadrotor light show that was shown at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this last week. With 16 quadrotors and a few can lights, it’s a light show not to be missed.

This quadrotor show was created by a collaboration between KMel robotics and Marshmallow Laser Feast. The guys behind KMel are the same brilliant minds behind this nanocopter swarm that can play the [James Bond] theme. For this light show, the guys at KMel Robotics used a Vicon motion capture system to coordinate the flock of quadrotors, as seen in this picture.

With a servo-controlled mirror on the bottom of each quatrotor, each vehicle in the fleet is able to reflect beams of light around the stage and into the audience. Now it’s only a matter of time until a setup like this is used for a showing of Laser Floyd.

Tip ‘o the hat to [cesar] for sending this one in. Via IEEE Spectrum.

Edit: They’re not can lights. After watching in 1080p, [Impulse405] is pretty confident they’re High End studio spots or a wash with a tight focus. Thanks for keeping us honest, [Impulse405]!

An Arduino Based Quadruped Robot


Sure, we see hexapods all the time at [HAD], but moving around with four legs can be more tricky kinematics-wise. This Instructable shows you how to make one out of balsa wood.

Although one might not think of balsa to make their robot out of [vexedpheonix] explains that this was chosen because it’s extremely light and easy to work with. Since he was trying to keep costs down, the cheapest servos available were used. These weren’t all that powerful, so the lighter the body the better! According to the included bill of materials, he was able to keep the entire robot build under $100.

According to the article, the hardest part was making four copies of the same leg. We might suggest using a CNC router, but building one would obviously add a huge layer of complication to the project!

Thanks for the tip on this one [SteveT]! Be sure to check out the video of this little robot waving one of it’s legs or trying to walk after the break! [Read more...]

Hackday Links: March 10, 2012

We’re throwing money at our monitor and nothing’s happening!

Sometimes we get hacks sent into our tip line that are outrageously awesome, but apart from a YouTube video we’ve got nothing else to write about. So begins the story of the flying Back to the Future DeLorean quadrocopter. Sadly, the story ends with the video as well. (If you’ve got any info, send it in!)

Fine, we’ll throw in another cool car

Mercedes covered a car with LEDs and made the James Bond’s invisible car from Die Another DayThe Mercedes video cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce, so of course there’s camera trickery; we’re just wondering how much credit Adobe After Effects gets for this build.

Microsoft touchscreen demo might be impossible

Yes, Microsoft does care about user experience. Just take a look at this video from their applied sciences group. They did user testing with touchscreens that updated every 1 millisecond, compared to the ~100ms our phones and tablets usually update. Of course the result was a better UX, but now we’re wondering how they built a touch screen that updates every millisecond? That’s a refresh rate of 1 kHz, and we’ve got no clue how they bodged that one together. We’re probably dealing with a Microsoft Surface projector/IR camera thing here, but that doesn’t answer any questions.

Edit: [Philip Rowney] sent in a tip that it could be this TI touch screen controller that can sample above 1 kHz. The only problem is this chip uses a resistive touch screen, instead of a multitouch-enabled capacitive screen. At least that solves one problem.

And now for something that can measure 1 kHz

[Paleotechnologist] posted an excellent guide to the care and feeding of an oscilloscope. Most of our readers probably already know the ins and outs of their awesome Techtronix and HP units, but that doesn’t mean the younglings won’t have to learn sooner or later.

Good idea, except the part about saving it for spring

In a moment of serendipity, [Valentin] figured out how to use touchscreens with wool gloves. The answer: rub thermal grease into the tip of the index finger. It works, and doesn’t look to be too much of a mess. We’ll remember this for next winter.

The last one didn’t have a picture, so here’s this

[Darrell] used a little bit of LaTeX and Ruby to make colored labels for his resistor collection. We’re struck with the idea of using test tubes to organize resistors. It’s cool and makes everything look all sciencey and stuff.

Variable pitch quadrocopter flies upside down

Straight from the Aerospace Controls Laboratory comes a variable-pitch quadrocopter designed by [Mark Cutler] and [Jonathan P. Howe]. While real, full-sized helicopters always have variable pitch rotors, changing the pitch of the blades on remote control aircraft is a fairly uncommon modification. When it’s done right, though, being able to easily change the thrust direction of a propeller leads to very cool flights, like having an airplane hover nose down.

[Mark] and [Jonathan] identified two interesting techniques that a variable pitch quadrotor can bring to the table. The first is trajectory generation  - because of the added maneuverability, their quadrotor can perform more aggressive banking turns when following a preprogrammed path. The second benefit to their design is quick deceleration. In the first video after the break, you can compare the deceleration rates of a variable pitch and fixed pitch quadrocopter. While the fixed pitch quad continues climbing after being commanded to stop, the quadrocopter outfitted with variable pitch rotors can stop on a dime.

We’re still waiting for the equivalent of the Red Bull Air Races for quadrocopter builds, but when it comes we know what would win the slalom event.

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Hackaday Links: February 19, 2012

Industrial control robot band

Remember Animusic, a series of videos featuring computer-generated, highly  implausible instruments? Intel made their own to demo their industrial control tech. From the looks of things, we’re putting money on a bunch of MIDI triggers bolted onto plastic panels; now it’s slightly less impressive and the reason we’re looking at xylophones on eBay right now.

Quadrocopters everywhere

[Jouni] sent in his quadrocopter build that was inspired by the Japanese spherebot we caught earlier this year. [Jouni] used a carbon fiber frame to  prevent the copter from bumping into things. Other things bumping into it are another story entirely.

This is my gun. There are none like it, because I printed it.

[Landru] printed a Nerf gun on his 3D printer. The only non-printed parts are a few screws, springs and an o-ring. [Landru] promised to put the files up on Thingiverse, but we can’t find them.

Media center auto power on circuit

[Dizzy]‘s media server doesn’t have an ‘AC power loss reset’ feature in its BIOS, and he can’t jumpstart the thing by shorting pins on the ATX power socket. He came up with a very clean, minimal solution to starting his server after a power loss. Nice job, [Diz].

Better run, better run, outrun my soldering gun

Alright, circuit board shoes probably aren’t that comfortable, or useful, but we did find a like to the works of [Steven Rodrig], an artist who works in the medium of PCBs. The recycled circuits don’t do anything, and that’s giving us a few ideas on how to improve a digital banana.

Easy camera tracking with a quadrocopter

[DJ Sures] has been pulling all-nighters lately to get his AR Drone Parrot build off the ground. Now that it’s up and flying around, he managed to get it to follow objects around the room using on board cameras.

For the build, [DJ Sures] used the AR Drone ‘flying video game’ quadrocopter. This toy has two on board cameras that can viewed over wifi. All that’s needed is some interesting software to make things fun. The camera tracking of EZ-Builder software was brought into the mix so the AR Drone can be controlled via object or speech recognition, wiimotes, tablets, or terminals.

[DJ Sures] has come up with some slightly terrifying awesome builds like a Bluetooth Teddy Ruxpin, realistic Wall-E, and an awesome Omnibot 2000 refurb. This is his first flying hack, and the first to fully exploit the camera tracking of the EZ-Builder software. Check out [Sures]‘ copter following him around a room after the break.

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