CES: Parrot’s AR Drone

We hadn’t been here long when we stumbled upon the Drone tent. The AR Drone is a wifi controlled quadcopter that has been making waves recently. We actually got to play with one a little bit. Well, sort of. There was too much interference inside for us to fly it manually, but we did smack it around a little bit while they told us about it. It was amazingly steady and strong while it tracked a target around the tent. Check back later for more videos and details.

Star Trek submarine

You can try to be unimpressed. You can attempt to feign disinterest. But even the most casual Star Trek fan will get giddy watching this model submarine in action.  Apparently there is a group that builds under water R/C vehicles from static models. It’s not Star Trek exclusively either, we saw some anime vehicles as well as a modern-day shuttle replica.

[via Makezine]

Movie mover: a mobile theater

[Electricunicycle] put together this radio controlled mobile theater system to amuse his neighborhood pals. It is a projector and what looks like an electric wheelchair base. He has managed to fit a decent sound system in there as well, which required a second battery. This is pretty cool, though we could see ruggedizing it a little more to be able to drive around in fields. He states “this is one of the faster movie theaters around”. This makes us wonder what the competition is like.

R/C airplane motors from computer trash

Here’s something that the R/C airplane crowd might think of as old news.  These directions show us how to rework floppy drive and CD Rom motors to be high power airplane motors.  There are several listed, with details on each, but those unfamiliar might want to start with the most basic CD Rom version. It covers winding your own copper and installing the magnets in the “bell”, putting it all together and mounting it. This is a great writeup for those who haven’t seen this done before. If you want something even simpler though, you might enjoy the homopolar motor post. If you’re more advanced, they have tips for you too on machining and balancing the motors as well as winding density.


We stumbled onto one of [Nik Melton]’s projects, an Omni-car. It is omnidirectional, meaning it can go any direction at any time without having to turn. The body was designed by him, then printed with a 3D printer. The control scheme is what interests us though. He has found a simple way to wire it to get the job done. Sure you can see that it suffers from some pretty bad “drift” when trying to go in a straight line, but overall, we think he pulled it off well.

You might want to take a few moments to look around his project page. This guy has done a bunch of fun stuff  like delta robots, strange hybrid wheel/leg robots, tesla coils, and arm mounted flamethrowers. Judging by the videos, he’s pretty young too. We think his guy has a bright future ahead of him.

Barbie’s web rover

[Hunter, Kyle, and Dylan] sent us some information on their Barbie Web Rover. It’s an old barbie power wheels jeep that’s been converted to a web enabled remote control car. They ripped out the old drive train and tore out the steering system. The rear tires are now independently driven for steering. It’s using an Arduino to control the motors and an Acer Aspire loaded with linux for the higher functions. It’s cool that they mention the farthest test being over 1600 miles away, but when it’s web enabled, does distance really matter?

They mention that the coolness factor is proportionate to the size and we have to agree, as long as they keep it small enough to not cause any real damage. You can build a web enabled rover with a little more effort from just a router, if you don’t want to give up your laptop.