Artists impression.

PiDrogen has been completely designed using fusion 360. We created this render for the programme submission.

We are really pleased with how it looks so wanted to share it with you. At the moment it is not sporting PiDrogen team colours but we don’t want to give too much away at this stage!

Hello again

Things have been quiet on the blog front from team PiDrogen. So, since we are snowed in, what better opportunity for an update?

Well the blog has been quiet because we’ve been coding just as fast as we can. 😀

We’ve developed a peripheral controller based on an Arduino Due. Here’s the breadboard version:

The Due connects to the servos, the SBUS on the radio receiver and to some I2C equipped sensors. It then connects to the Pi via a USB port. The Due updates the Pi several times a second and takes instructions from the Pi to set servo positions etc. Jay, who has recently been press ganged into the team, is busy building a strip board interface to replace the breadboard rat’s nest that you see here.

In addition to this, chief coder Dad has been writing the Pi code. It’s written in Python which he’s new to; so there have been times of slow progress. It basically works (although it’s hard to use unless you attach a keyboard; that’s gonna need work!). Here’s a picture of the app running in calibrate mode:

The image is the view from the Pi camera with the alien outlined in pink by open CV, all at 20 frames per second; pretty impressive for such a small device!

Next for us is to rebuild the chassis. The electronics are turning out to be larger than expected and things are getting a little tight in PiDrogen. Tight fitting electronics and LiPo batteries doesn’t sound like a good combination. 🤔

We flyin!

We’ve made a lot of progress today:

  • We’ve designed a new and (hopefully) improved back axle component, cut it on the Exeter Fab Lab laser cutter and fitted it.  So we now have a fully functional PiDrogen1.
  • Then we paired the radio control transmitter we borrowed from a friend to PiDrogen2.  So now we can drive both robots simultaneously.  This is going to be ideal for tomorrow’s marble obstacle course at The House of Marbles.
  • Then Phil got his Python 3 install working on his Mac.  Using this he wrote his first Python GUI using tkinter. (Well, when we say “wrote” we really mean “copied off the Tinterweb”).
  • Then that same Python app shockingly worked on our RPi via it’s touch screen.  The amount of excitement this caused in Phil seems to suggest that his Geekosity has reached new heights.
  • During all this we managed to blog our exploits with the back axle.
    …Juliet did her first ever head stand at the gym!

Like I said, “We Flyin'”.

So there’s good news and bad news…

The good news is that Nathy has been doing some driving practice in preparation for tomorrow’s “marble test” at the House of Marbles.

The bad news is that PiDrogen1 has suffered a structural failure:

The back axle, which is made from 3mm acrylic, has cracked. It is the first victim of Nathy’s enthusiastic driving style. Still, that’s what testing is all about… Right?

Luckily for us, Exeter Fab Lab is open late on a Thursday night. So here is the new, simplified, surely stronger replacement part:

All we need to do now is rebuild ready for tomorrow.