Monday, December 31, 2012

PF 2013 !

I want to wish you all a great year full of joy and happiness !

From my perspective year 2012 was really good, I feel like I moved to a next level with my skills and everything. I build my best project yet - Bracerbot, which is still not finished, but I am really happy that I was able to bring my ideas to real world. Good news is that for Christmas I got tablet with the pen ! At first I thought I wouldn't be able to fully use it since I'm not an artist, but then I sketched some things and here you can see some things that come out. So I will maybe create new category called concepts for things that I have in mind, but I can't really realize them.

So what's next in 2013 ? Well I hope a lot more projects that you will like (I will probably start with that Biped on picture).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

I want to wish you all Merry Christmas !

Saturday, December 8, 2012

XBees have arrived !

Hi there ! Reason I was inactive for some time is that I was still setting up at a new flat.

I am also waiting for some things I've ordered from e-bay. But big news, Christmas have come earlier this year, as I've ordered 2 xbee modules from local store and I already have them ! I spent some time with setting them up, but eventually I was able to send data between them. I'm quiet happy that I've acquired them, and I'm looking forward to use them in some future projects. There is one problem though, I bought ones without antennas (not even surface mount ones), they have only u.fl connectors, so I need to buy some, because range now is only about half meter. I hope I'll be able to finish my next project before Christmas, but it all depends on whether things I've orders arrive soon enough.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

First steps with Raspberry Pi

Hi there ! I've been inactive for few weeks because we have moved to a new flat. It's in the same city, but my PC was disassembled for few days and I'm still putting together my workplace.

In spite of that, I've been playing with Raspberry Pi and this awesome Bluetooth keyboard, that has already arrived, and a I have to tell that it's amazing ! No problem with pairing, charges really fast, can be connected to virtually anything, has amazing function keys, USB Bluetooth dongle can be stored in it and it has laser pointer and back-lighted keys ! I have to say it's one of the most useful things I ever bought. Raspberry Pi itself is amazing as-well, I wasn't expecting it to be fast, actually I've expected it to be slow as hell. At first I used Occidentalis from Adafruit as OS, but it turned out that there are some issues with the kernel and the new model of Pi that has 512 MB RAM, so I downloaded newest Wheezy, which is basically debian. I myself prefer Ubuntu, but on a piece of hardware like that, you don't wan't to waste any of your processing power. First thing I did was that I've overclocked ARM 11 processor from 700 MHZ to 950 MHZ and with 450 (usable) MB or RAM this device has quicker response than I've imagined, of course if you're installing something via terminal, it takes a lot of time. Second thing I did was that I've used a small script to automatically bind that Bluetooth keyboard to Raspberry, because it's not wireless, but bluetooth keyboard so you have to connect it manually. This script allows me to work with this keyboard immediately, with no need of wired keyboard or mouse. After that was done, I wanted to play with some GPIOs, but there was a problem, ribbon cable. I only had 40 pin one, and Pi uses 26 pin. So long story short, I've 'adjusted' cable with some pliers for metal and hot glue.

After that I downloaded Geany, which is really lightweight IDE for various languages. Then you need to download RPi.GPIO library via terminal and you're good to go. This was first time when I saw python, I have to say I like this language, it's easy, simple, portable yet have lot of possibilities. So if you're considering buying Raspberry Pi, I recommend you to, because for that amount of money it's an amazing piece of hardware and it's really fun to play with and you can definitely expect some projects that will use it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Raspberry Pi

Hi ! First of all I would like to thank all of you, because I've recently hit 50,000 views on youtube ! It makes me proud and motivates me to do more and better stuff.

Next important thing is that my Raspberry Pi has finally arrived ! (it took 75 days) Original one that I've ordered got lost, so they had to send new one, on the other hand it's probably even better, because they've send me new model B with 512 MB RAM. I've already bought HDMI cable, Acrylic case and SD card. I want to make my raspberry fully portable, so expect some mods in near future, for that reason I've ordered this mini bluetooth keyboard with mouse pad from ebay. It's small, portable, wireless and uses only one USB port.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bracerbot Beta UI

Hi there ! I'm back with another update. 

This time I finally focused on sending data from bracerbot to PC via Bluetooth. At the same time I've written small application in Processing that acquires the data and displays them on the screen using controlP5 library, which is great. This application also allow you to control robot. So in next week or so I will finally program gait and make this application look kinda better. Also notice that light sensor is showing 1023 because its not yet soldered to the board.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bracerbot Beta [update]

Hi ! First of all I want to thank all of you for 15,000 views ! and I just want to show this quick update.

Finally he's walking ! Still need to work on it though. I've also spay-painted legs to black I think it looks much better. I'm still wondering whether I should keep is as it is or create some case for batteries from acrylic. Well gait is currently priority, but I also want to start with data acquisition. Then I want to make Processing app with full movement control and then perhaps I will try to make Android app in eclipse. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bracerbot Beta

Hi there ! I am so sorry that it took me so long, but finally Bracerbot is here, Even though it's still in beta mode.

It all began early in July when I was thinking about what should I build next. I was positive that I wanted a quadruped, but there's lot of them, so I wanted mine to be somehow special. Since Iron Man is my favorite hero I always dreamed of building something that I could actually wear. Well what could I wear was question then. I ended up choosing bracelet (sort of). After that I've ordered some servos from ebay and started to draw some ideas in sketchup. It took me a week to make a final design. Then I started to put it all together. It uses 2xNokia batteries (I love those !) for board, bluetooth and sensors and 4x1.5V AAA batteries for servos (one battery in one leg, seemed like a good idea before I had to make wiring). You can see process of transformation in video. Currently I'm programming walking and I think it'll take me some time. I'm also thinking of using some sort of thin plastic as a mask, because as you can see it doesn't look very nice. To be honest I like the idea, but overall I think I failed because robot is too heavy as a bracelet (around 300 grams) and it doesn't look very nice as-well. So there will be some updates as I proceed with programming and Raspberry Pi still haven't arrived yet so I'm waiting.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Servo Breakout Board

Hi ! I am currently working on something big, so I apologize for not being active for some time.

I can't tell you what exactly I am working on, because it's sort of a secret. Only thing I can tell you is that it uses 8 servos. Well I am a lazy person and I don't like to attach servos. So I've decided to make a small breakout board that will allow me to test up to 12 servos easily with separate power source. It's quiet easy project that I put it together in one evening but it is quiet useful. I also want to tell you that I've finally ordered my Raspberry Pi so after I will receive it there will be some projects using it, because I really want to learn to program in Python. So sorry for less posts and I will try my best to finish this secret project ASAP.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Voice Controlled Light

Hi there ! First of all Happy Nikola Tesla Day ! And secondly I would like to apologize for not being active for some time.

But since summer is here I will hopefully have more time to work on my projects. Today I want to show you sort of an Intro. Finally I had some extra money so I've bought some relays. For quiet some time I have this idea in my mind. It's an idea to change my room in one big ecosystem, that would preferably be controlled by voice via PC or Android phone. Yes once again this idea comes from Ironman. So I've build simple setup in a box and connected arduino with a Bluetooth module to it and wrote some simple code to look for word “light”. You can see the result in a video. Google voice recognition seems to work pretty fast, but you need to have internet connection in order to use it. That's the reason why I want whole system to be controlled from my desktop. So I need to find right voice recognition software and install a microphone somewhere.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Control Glove as Game Controller

Hi there. Sorry for bit of a delay, but I'm unable to buy new Bluetooth module for dummy and there are few other problems with it. So sadly, I am forced to postpone this project for some time.

But don't worry I'm still working on Control Glove, because I feel that it has some potential. Since I have nothing to control in real world, I've been thinking what different can I control. When I lack creativity (most of the time), I'm playing some classic PC games from my childhood. I've been playing Re-Volt once again and it suddenly hit me, I can create sort of a game controller. Well that's easy to say, but harder to do. For some time I was totally lost. But then I found out that I can trick it. It basically works the way that Control Glove sends data from accelerometer to PC via Bluetooth. That data goes to a Application written in Processing. Processing is great, because you can export application directly for Windows/MAC/Linux. I have used a little trick, when you turn you hand to the left, processing will send (VK_left) via java Robot when you turn hand to the right Robot will send (VK_right). I found this to be the easiest method. Of course is not the best solution. Right now I'm planning to add few buttons to the glove to make proper controller out of it.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Control Glove

Hi there. First of all I would like to thank all viewers because recently I hit 40.000 views on videos on my youtube channel and also 10.000 views on this blog. So few weeks ago I showed you beta of dummy, well I haven't been working on it so much since, I just made a PCB, but I've been working on this glove.

You might ask why glove ? Well because I always wanted to make one and I couldn't think of a better way of how to control Dummy. Even this glove is still in sort of beta state. It uses Atmega8 with the bootloader that has BOD (Brown-out detection) level set to 2.7V so this board can easily operate at 3.3 volts. I chose this option because of the fact that I wanted to implement battery to glove and that meant, that battery has to be small and light. I chose a battery BL-5B from an old Nokia. If you have one of these phones just laying around use that batteries, they have lot of power and 3.7 volts is all that you need. Board also have headers for FTDI or Bluetooth module, which operates at 3.3volts. Accelerometer that is for now the only sensor on this glove, operates also at 3.3volts which gave me the opportunity to use that Nokia battery and 3.3v regulator. Remember that when you are using different than 5V power source you have to put power on AREF pin and in the setup of the code declare that you are using EXTERNAL analog reference. In the future I would like to add few more sensors (probably flex). So I hope you like it and once again thanks for your support.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dummy Pre-Alpha

Few weeks ago I started working on a robotic hand, it's still in pre-alpha phase, because of the claws that are not yet operational, but I wanted to show you my progress.

Well, you may wonder why to call it Dummy ? Its name comes from the Iron Man movie, where Tony Stark has a robotic helper but it's not working well so it completely fits to my arm. I'm still working on a way how to send data from controller (which I would like to implement to a glove) to hand itself. I wrote some code for sending data in a packet form, because I would like to make the whole arm wireless. Problem is that I have to send positions of all 4 servos (now it sends just position for two of them). This project is definitely more complex than I've expected, so it's going to take me more time to finish it, and that's the reason why there will be more smaller updates.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Hi there. First of all, I would like to apologize for almost 2 months of inactivity. I had lot of other things, but I was working on a new project. Unfortunately it's not finished yet.

Awesome thing is that I get an AR.Drone for my birthday, to be honest quadrocopter had been in my mind for quiet some time. I'm really excited about working/playing with it. I also found a processing and arduino libraries for it. I'm considering to buy a wi-fi xbee radio to control this drone with arduino. And about that project I mentioned above, I hope that it will be finished soon.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Observer 1.4 [update]

Hi there. I am presenting you version 1.4. 

The mayor change is that I’ve added third wheel to the back. I’m still experimenting with that but as you can see in the video observer can now drive over various obstacles without any problems. Also I moved Bluetooth module under the PCB to use the space that was there. Right now I’m drawing new PCB for observer, so that means next update will be version 2.0. I don’t want to spoil it, so I just say there’s going to be multiple sensors and when all will work out well I believe that version 2.0 will be awesome.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Observer 1.3 [update]

Bluetooth module has arrived, so I want to show you pics of another update. 

Reason that version 1.2 is missing is that this version (controller) was build on breadboard. At first I thought that I would put controller in some case, but then I decided to leave it like this. So what’s new? I’ve added analog stick that I’ve desoldered from old gamepad. But there’s still option to control robot via accelerometer. For that purpose I’ve used pushbutton that is part of analog stick. There’s still one breaked-out analog pin on Observer waiting for some sensor. I’ve been trying to add there LM335, but I’m dealing with analog reference issue. I found out that AAA batteries aren’t very good for such robot and that having separate power sources for servos and for microprocessor would be much better.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Observer 1.1 [update]

It took me more time then I've expected, but here's and update.

I have used second Arduino (Duemilanove) as an controller. For now robot is being controlled via laptop, but I have already ordered second bluetooth module for standalone controller. I thought adding LED's as front lights would be cool also.