Monday, 11 October 2010

Quadrotors Fiesta in Malaysia

I attended Real-time Control Design Seminar 2010 on 28 September at Armada Hotel Petaling Jaya as the demonstration of a flying quadrotor is scheduled in the agenda. The seminar was organized by iMath and Quanser to promote their products. 
The quadrotor they showcased is the Qball-X4 UAV which is one of the main components of their Quanser Unmanned Vehicle Systems (UVS) Laboratory. The brain of Qball-X4 is an embedded Gumstix computer with an HiQ avionics data acquisition card obtaining motion data from 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis magnetometer. To obtain position data for autonomous flight, Qball-X4 will have to use either an GPS for outdoor operation or rely on the tracking of several synchronized infrared cameras for indoor operation.
As there was some technical problem while transporting the Qball-X4 to Kuala Lumpur, no demonstration can be done in the seminar. However several videos of Qball-X4 were shown

Then on 4 October 2010, I attended the iPhone 4 + iPad Gathering at Uptown Damansara for the demonstration of another quadrotor, the famous Parrot AR Drone. The drone owner brought it into Malaysia at a price of RM2500+ due to the shipping, insurance and custom duties and he suggested that bring it in by hand from Hong Kong may be more economy.

The drone was flown with an WiFi Ad-Hoc connection to an iPhone 4 at a car pack. The augmented reality (AR) games shown in the following video are still not yet available.

I have strong interest in these quadrotors demonstration as we are in the process of building our own. What have been achieved in the first stage is the basic quadrotor hardware including the aluminium frame, 5400mAh battery, 4 electronic speed controls (ESC) and 4 motors which is controlled by an Arduino board plus Futaba RC 6-channel transmitter-receiver set. The next stage will be the selection and integration of motion sensing system for flight stabilization.

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