Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition 2010 Day One Report

The Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) is the precursor to the DARPA Grand Challenge, and in many ways it is just as difficult. We have the pleasure of being at the competition this year with the Tennessee Technological University Autonomous Robotics Team. The teams at the competition pull off some amazing home-brew robotics, so we’ve decided to do a short section on some exemplary robotic hacking each day of the competition.

Today’s robot comes from the York College of Pennsylvania. The robot, dubbed “Green Lightning”, features an impressive set of custom made hardware.

We interviewed the team, and got a pretty thorough rundown of their robot with pictures after the jump. [Read more...]

CES Update: Atmega128RFA1

After posting about our visit and interview with [Vemund], the Atmel rep at CES. We got the feeling you needed to know some more. The thing that has got us pretty excited is the ATmega128RFA1(pdf) single-chip microcontroller and Zigbee radio module. It can be found in the ATmegaRFA1-EK1 development board. We look forward to seeing future projects and products involving this chip. How would you use this chip?

CES Update: A Visit to the Zigbee Booth

We visited the Zigbee Alliance booth yesterday and talked to Atmel and TI reps. The very knowledgeable Atmel rep showed us a new development kit for Zigbee radios and gave us some of these modules above. We will be getting more information about this kit later on. The TI rep pointed us to the TI Engineer 2 Engineer Community.

Hacking ZigBee chips: CC2430

[Travis Goodspeed] took an in-depth look at the debugging protocols for some ZigBee chips and posted his findings. In particular he’s looking at the CC2430 System-on-chip. These chips have a debugging protocol that is not hard to implement if you know what you’re doing. Certainly his tips make it easier for the rest of us. Don’t miss the info about reading from, writing to, and overcoming security of this hardware.

Zigbee AES key sniffing

zigbeesniffing

[Travis Goodspeed] posted a preview of what he’s working on for this Summer’s conferences. Last weekend he gave a quick demo of sniffing AES128 keys on Zigbee hardware at SOURCE Boston. The CC2420 radio module is used in many Zigbee/802.15.4 sensor networks and the keys have to be transferred over an SPI bus to the module. [Travis] used two syringe probes to monitor the clock line and the data on a TelosB mote, which uses the CC2420. Now that he has the capture, he’s planning on creating a script to automate finding the key.

Tweet-a-Watt wins Greener Gadgets design competition

tweetawatt

The team behind the the Tweet-a-Watt/Wattcher just won first prize at the Greener Gadgets design competition. The device is a hacked Kill A Watt that transmits power consumption using an XBee. After checking out DVICE’s preview of the competitors yesterday, we’re happy to see a prototype win instead of just a concept sketch.

Wattcher, twittering Kill A Watt plans posted

kill-a-watt

You probably saw [Phillip Torrone] and [Limor Fried]‘s twittering Kill A Watt earlier this week. It was an entry in the Core77/Greener Gadgets Design Competition. We saw a little bit about how it was assembled, but now they’ve posted a full guide to assembling the hardware. Each Kill A Watt gets an XBee radio that transmits back to a receiver that logs the power usage. The difficult part when putting this design together was the XBee required 50mA when transmitting. This is well above the Kill A Watt’s internal power supply. They remedied this by adding a 10,000uF supercap to act as a rechargeable battery. The daily twittering is just a side-effect of the project. The Kill A Watts transmit every 2 seconds, so you’ll get a very accurate report of your power usage. This is a great project for renters who can’t permanently modify their power infrastructure. Each Kill A Watt can support quite a few appliances since they’re rated for 15A, ~1800W.

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