Arduino Blimp

Here’s a good rule of thumb: “Don’t update your firmware five minutes before you’re going to fly an autonomous robot ten feet away from a former Vice President of the United States.”
That was one of the afterthoughts of [Chris Anderson] after presenting his Arduino controlled blimp at TED. (I might have to squeeze TED into my con schedule next year.) The project itself is somewhat documented here, with some hi-res photos, parts list, and some firmware. Apparently the blimp was overcome by the A/C in the auditorium, but I still dig it.

Hackit: A Better Homebrew Control Interface?

I’ve built a few CNC controllers, and I’ve been a bit disappointed by the state of the control interfaces. Most diy systems rely on a parallel port interface, while a few use a serial connection. Just one that I’ve seen has an actual USB interface, but it’s limited to use with the fab@home software for now.
So what’s the hackit of the day? I think that the hardware hacking, home fabrication community could really benefit from a standardized I/O interface for driving CNC machines, robotics or anything else along those lines. For CNC work, it’ll need a serial or parallel port emulation scheme to allow existing software to take advantage of it. For quicker home development, some simple API’s for controlling the device would be excellent. Imagine using perl to develop robot logic with just a few easy function calls…

Hackit is really your show, so lets hear your ideas.