The easiest way to control a Crazyflie nano quadcopter is with a laptop and a PS3 controller (or similar), but tonight we played around trying to control it using the Android client. Took a bit of messing around, so here’s how we got it working.
Instead of installing the full Android SDK (ADT bundle) I tried the Android Studio. Only limitation is that I couldn’t find how to install built apps directly onto my phone, but installing with ADB or ssh was fine. Anyway, here’s what we did to get the client running:
On the weekend of the 20th/21st of April Hackerspace Adelaide hosted the local site of the NASA SpaceApps Challenge. The idea of the weekend is to explore the data that NASA collect from their satellites, rovers and probes, and try and use it in a way that makes it easier for us to connect with.
Unsurprisingly, Hackerspace regulars were peppered through three teams that formed from the attendees. After being recently inspired by Mark‘s Project Horus balloon launches, our team (Steven Pickles, Jamie Mackenzie, Steven Clark & Simon Loffler) initially started work on a disposable emergency balloon that could be launched in times of fire, flood, plane crash or natural disaster and return image and position data to aid in search and recovery efforts.
Unfortunately, with the help of Jamie’s brain full of geometric equations, we quickly calculated that an affordable solution that delivered useful data in a timely fashion just wasn’t feasible.
A few despondent looks later, it was back to the challenge page for some more inspiration.
Having watched and rather enjoyed the livestream of the Curiosity Mars rover’s descent to the surface of the red planet, I floated the idea of using some of the rover’s temperature data in the Wish You Were Here challenge.
Looking into the actual readings I quite surprised to see that the temperatures ranged from around -70C to 7C. My colour/image oriented brain assumed that a red planet meant a hot planet, how wrong it was! The next question we asked was if there was anywhere on Earth that had a similar climate, and with that Mearth was born.
Pix jumped into action parsing the XML feeds from the rover (in the end we used another group’s JSON feed) and wrote a script to pick the closest matching city on Earth from a list of 500 possible candidates. I bootstrapped a Ruby on Rails app, pushed it to Github (for collaboration) and then onto Heroku (a cloud service for the app).
A few hours and pizza/beer/coffee later, and we had a prototype.
The last requirement of the challenge was to create a video describing our project.
At the end of the day, our group and one of the other Adelaide groups Moon Settler were selected as two of the four from Australia to go into the International round of voting.
As you can probably tell, we had an awesome time at the weekend and can highly recommend participating in it next year.
Special thanks go to the Adelaide organiser Sumen Rai for such a well managed weekend, and also Nicole Bromley for volunteering her time setting up / bringing us coffee and pizza and generally being lovely and smiley.
If you like the sound of this event, perhaps you should sign up to participate in the GovHack weekend coming up – a chance to mash government data into useful visualisations and web apps: uladl.com (don’t ask why it’s called unleashed).
One of the stand out talks for me was Denise Paolucci’s Overcoming Imposter Syndrome. Denise isn’t a Hackerspace person I just want to highlight her excellent talk. Her slides are up on Slide Share and you can download the video from the LCA mirror.
Pix gave a talk at the Blue Hackers BOF which unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend because I was at the Interactive Textiles BOF. If anyone has a photo could they please let me know so that I can include it in this post.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are the main conference days. All the conference videos are available for download so if you didn’t make it this year you can still listen to some great talks.
Saturday Visit To Make, Hack, Void – Canberra Hackerspace
As 2012 came to a close, when most things were winding up for the holidays, Hackerspace Adelaide was madly moving house.
Following our presentation about Hackerspace on the MEGA pitch day, Jana Matthews of ANZ Innovyz START offered us some space in their premises at 80 King William St. A mere 2 weeks later, after some sweaty furniture relocation and a few rickety sack-truck convoys from Format, we were ready for business.
On Saturday December 29th we had our first session. A bunch of the regulars couldn’t make it but plenty of people stopped by to give the new space a test-drive.
Our new space has a white-board, which makes the sessions magically self-documenting:
Keep an eye on the calendar to join us at a future session. In addition to our normal fornightly cycle, I sense we will be peppering the calendar with a few extra sessions in the coming months.
This week the Adelaide FabLab is holding a masterclass on digital fabrication. As part of this HackAdl member Tamsyn has created an introduction for using the Laser Cutter with Inkscape. The blog post can be found here:
The adelaide hackerspace recently submitted an application to become an incorporated body. This week Pix brought the certificate along.
Pix brandishes Hackerspace Adelaides Certifcate of Incorporation
Simon has decided to build a hexapod robot using micro RC servos. To simplify the task of driving the required eighteen servos he is using a development board based on the same TLC5940 chip used by the Peel Street Lantern.