BeagleDrone fixed-wing autopilot

AndiceLabs writes about a fixed-wing autopilot project:



The BeagleDrone is fixed-wing autopilot project based on the BeagleBone and the IMU cape.  The IMU cape provides a 3-axis magnetometer, accelerometer, gyro and a barometer on the BeagleBone’s I2C bus.  There is also an AVR micro on the I2C bus that handles output pulse timing of the 8 servo channels and input pulse timing on the 4 radio signal channels.  Two of the BeagleBone’s UARTs are exposed via FTDI-compatible connectors to allow connection of external modules like GPS and telemetry.  It also has a regulator that provides 5VDC for the BeagleBone, AVR, and servos from the RC battery.


The BeagleBone provides the power of Linux in a footprint that is acceptable for RC and the Black has now made the platform even more affordable.  With Linux’s extensive libraries and utilities almost any feature should be quickly realizable and development enjoyable.  And unlike an autopilot powered by an 8 or 16 bit micro-controller, there is no need to worry about code and data size or overloading the processor with whatever crazy navigation features you can dream up.

I enjoy flying electric RC planes whenever I get the chance and building a fixed-wing autopilot for the BeagleBone has been on my list for a while now.  Of course, there’s no reason that the BeagleBone couldn’t also control a multi-rotor aircraft.  A flying Linux box is going to have very few limitations!

BeagleDrone fixed-wing autopilot

Tindie Seller Interview: Alex Albino

interviewed Alex Albino of Femtoduino for the Tindie blog:

Alex Albino, of the Femtoduino Store, is one of the original sellers on Tindie, with his store officially listed as opening on November 26, 2012. During this time, he’s sold well over 300 of his custom boards, and I was glad to catch up to him to ask a few questions.

Albino, who works as a software and web developer, first got into electronics after his NES was fried in a thunderstorm in junior high, and he got to take it apart. Eventually his interests led him to the Arduino and Fabio Varesano’s work, and multiple hardware platforms over the years.

Albino’s store started with him asking Fabio Varesano if he could sell Femtoduino boards, which have the same outputs as an Arduino Uno in the size of one’s thumb. Since Varesano wasn’t interested in selling them himself, he generously gave Albino permission to run with this design. Albino then went to work assembling and selling these boards, and even made sure to give a portion of the money he made—though he didn’t have to—back to Varesano to promote his open source work.


Of course, these tiny Arduino clones are still for sale, but Albino sells several other items, including the FemtoBeacon wireless IMU (inertial measurement unit) sensor. He even notes his store theme as providing the smallest open source IMU sensors in the world. You can see one in the image above next to a U.S. dime—quite small indeed. He hopes to grow the Femtobeacon business into a full-time job in the future.

Naturally, Albino has bought from other Tindarians in the past, which he says is always fun. He also notes that, “If you sell anything on Tindie, make sure to package carefully, take decent photos, and include videos of stuff in action!” As such, here’s a video of the tiny Femtoduino in action:

Tindie Seller Interview: Alex Albino