Trash Drone Router Platform

Using trash to make cheap wifi drones, connect uncovered areas with connectivity, and explore the sky

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Trash Robotic Drone Router Platform is motivated mainly by hardware reuse. Specially hardware that you have liying around at you home as spare parts, or just junk stuff. This includes home routers, spare/old PIC microcontrollers, Wii sensors, IP cameras, lasers, motors, plastic and wood parts.

Also they must be controlled with minimum client hardware dependency (Wifi communication), and minimum software dependency (Minimum or none client specific control programs: they are remotely operated via web browser without ANY plugins or applets, just using a web (stored in each router).

Near-space device
Main proposal for this paper is to make Atropos a near-space device, combining hellium balloon probes with autonomous drones. Benefits can be a variety of appications, from emergency Wifi coverage to surveillance. Ground station will be the ROV Texas Ranger

Trash Drone Router Platform has two robots at this moment. 

********************SEE PAPER LINK FOR PICS (To fix)

Rover “Texas Ranger”

I will present firstly the rover “Texas Ranger” as a first proof of concept of the platform, in order to understand all the knowledge to bring all to the next level, and present the quadcopter.

Texas ranger is a differential traction vehicle made from wood pieces and plastic toy wheels.
It has a 2-degree-of-freedom turret mounted on top, that holds an ip camera, a laser pointer and, two PVC automatic cannons, made with two cheap gun toys mounted backwards and drived by two MOSFET. Turrent is 1-degree-of-freedom self-compensated inclination, measured by Wii nunchuck.

The vehicle is operated with a Linksys WRT54G, OpenWRT loaded. The router is connected via ethernet to the IP Camera and via serie to a home made board with two 16F876 PICs. The board controls motors for differential traction, Wii nunchuck reading and turret self-compensation is calculated on PIC and notified to router via RS232.

Laser ponter is used to project the dot in landscape, in order to estimate the distance to targeted object, via triangulation. A C program, executed in the router, downloads every frame from ip camera, decompress the JPEG stream using libjpeg, and finds the most brighness dot inside a pre-defined region of the image.
Assuming that this is the laser dot, and calculating the amount of pixels from the dot to the image border, estimating the real distance to target, and showing it in the web page.

Remote control works as an another URL of the router web configuration. User send commands as the same way as he would play Quake or CS, by 'w', 'a', 's', 'd' keystrokes, and mouse movements and click for turrent movement, canon shooting and distance measurement.

Every user command is sent via AJAX request, that calls a CGI, that sends a command via serial, that is interpreted by PIC, and activate servos, motors, laser, cannons as requested. Status of entire system is returned by the same way, and represented via another request. This request is a COMET (SERVER PUSH) request in order to make faster and smoother user interface. To make graphics I used HTML5 CANVAS object.

Demo includes a short movement, turret shooting, laser measurement, and self-compensation demo.

Quadrocopter “ATROPOS”

Quadcopter Atropos is the concept evolution of the rover texas Ranger. It has all the tweaks of the rover but also many other features, required to make it work. Also made with wood and paper, the only bought parts are the motors, controllers, battery and blades.

Atropos is based on OpenWRT La Fonera 2201 router. It is auto-stabilized by a entirely home made Inertial Measurement Unit, using Wii console controls.

In order to mantain minimum hardware components, attitude sensors (Wii motion plus -gyroscope- and Wii nunchuck -accelerometer-) are connected directly to the router using the LED lines. LED Lines are used as software emulated I2C ports.

Wii nunchuck analog joystick is unmounted. This leaves available two 8-bit Analog to Digital conversors. Currently one of these is used to measure battery voltage.

Once the router has the sensors readings, it fusions them via a Director Cosine Matrix, to translate all movements, relative to aircraft, to relative to the Earth, and compensates gyroscope drift. This give us three angular velocities (one for each plane -pitch -roll -yaw ) and three absolute angles.

To command the four motors, a nested Porportional+Proportional-Integral-Derivative (P+PID) controller (connected with these values) is implemented and tuned to calculate the correct motor attitude for each moment.

To send this information to the motors, La Fonera is connected via rs232 to a PIC16F876. This micro receives the final commands and generates Pulse Width Modulation pulses, readable by Motor Electronic Speed Controllers.

All spendable processes are uninstalled/killed on the Fonera in order to obtain maximum performance. Linux watchdog is disabled,...

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  • 6 × Wood sticks
  • 1 × La Fonera 2201 Router
  • 1 × TP-Link 703 Router
  • 4 × Brushless motors and ESC
  • 1 × PIC 16F876

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  • at time better than faster

    @TaiksonTexas08/20/2014 at 09:57 0 comments

    read data and calculate pid is a time dependet task. when time is removed to improve calculations you mus read in a time fixed way. in linux you can achieve this by setting signal and alert time fixed and a kernel special schedule to allow to make the process enter in cpu. this is the best way to make uniform process. faster reads can be done without this but it will not time fixed and stabilizations will be lacking

  • pid control is tricky

    @TaiksonTexas08/20/2014 at 09:53 0 comments

    you can read a lot of pid tutorials but the best way to tune pitch and roll pid once you have the basic idea is to block the drone in pitch or roll plane and sense with your hand how drone acts when yu change pid params

  • connecting everything

    @TaiksonTexas08/20/2014 at 09:43 0 comments

    la foneta acts as main brain of atropos but it needs sensors to reas attitude. i need four gpios to emulate 2 i2c ports. one of them is enough but wii motion and nunchuck together works different and i lose nunchuck precision. to control motors i need a pwm generator so I used a 16f pic frm spare projects thar receives command via serial

  • choosing platform

    @TaiksonTexas08/20/2014 at 09:13 0 comments

    The very first thing we need to decide is in which platform of hardware we are going to develop our project. I decided to use routers because they are cheap an run an entire operating system. I started this project four years ago so routers was and still are a very  good way to develop. 

    openwrt is one of the most popular firmware for linux embedded developers because it is very customizable. for the router choosing I choose la fonera 2201 because I need small size and at leas 4 gpios free and ethernet and serial. Four years ago it was one of the best choices

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