Building UAVs is only half the work involved in making them fly; the other half is a control system. The Center for Collaborative Control of Unmanned Vehicles (C3UV) from the University of Califorina, Berkeley has devised a way to control a squad of RC airplanes with an iPhone. The system works by submitting commands and coordinates to a web site via the iPhone’s web browser. The site then sends the commands to the team of drones, which carry out the orders. The drones are outfitted with cameras and a tracking device, which allows them to be monitored on the ground using Google Maps.
The iPhone Terms of Service specifically prohibits it being used to drive remote vehicles, but that shouldn’t really pose a problem: since the orders are deployed via the iPhone’s web browser, they could technically be given by any web-enabled device. Before anyone cries foul, though, bear in mind that the idea is to issue orders from the field, and the iPhone is perhaps the most high-profile mobile web device on the market, which maximizes the project’s exposure. Still, we can’t help but think that they’d have gotten more media attention if they had used a hacked Kindle instead.
It’s been a while since we’d seen any new SMS/GSM/serial remote interface projects. [Emanuele] sent in his version of a project to do just that. It uses a PIC16F84 and will send or receive commands. A pair of relays provide options for controlling whatever you want to hook it up to. You’ll need a login, but he’s released the full schematics and firmware. He developed this to find uses for old phones, but an alternative is to pick up a cheap calling card cell and dedicate it to a project like this. This seems like a great way to add an out of band alarm system to your house/car/robotic minion.
[Bob van loosen] added a remote learning circuit made from a PIC 16F84A to his Onkyo receiver – which happens to have remote buttons and a ttl control link for external devices. The PIC listens to the remote link on the receiver. By grounding a pin, it will learn the next remote command that’s received. In this case, he uses it to swap the left/right front/rear signals to gain proper speaker orientation when he switches between his TV and Computer. This would make an entertaining external dongle if you combined it with a smoke generator…
[Jared] posted the latest version of his remote control airsoft gun. The new one allows USB and R/C control. It’s got four seperate firing mechanisms, a laser and uses a pair of servos for motion… and lots of ammo. Whatever you do, don’t make fun of [Jared]. They’ll have video up on the site after a couple of days to save bandwidth.
(Just a note: embed youtube or netscape videos and you’ll have video and save your bandwidth.)