A Small Part of a Big Day

December 10, 2013 | Andrew Simpson

Big Day

Big day for Miles Scott when he warmed hearts not just in San Francisco, but around the world last month when the Make-a-Wish Foundation made his dream of being Batkid for a day come true. Miles was back in the news today attending a fundraiser to help other kids just like him, while we got a rare look inside the Batcave and some of its tech.

Small Part

Instructables has been host to a wonderful series on the technology that made Miles’ wish into a reality. It’s been a great look at a lot of the volunteer work that goes into building the custom stuff that pretty much every Make-a-Wish grant involves, and Gumstix was delighted to have been a part of the ultra-cool wrist-projector communicator used.

Small Part of a Big Day
Our Overo and Summit boards used for Batkid’s wrist projector communicator

From “Commissioner” Gordon and everyone here at Gumstix to all those out there who helped make this dream come true, we’d like to say “Way to go!”

The Whole Kit and Kaboodle

Gumstix Solutions Kits get you up and running quickly

November 8, 2013 | Andrew Simpson

Our aim at Gumstix has always been to build the best tools to let you design and deliver your dream project as effortlessly as possible. With so many combinations of computers-on-module and expansion boards available, getting the advanced functionality you need has only ever been a click away. With such a staggering array of options, however, how do you know which one to choose when beginning a project? We’ve got the answer.

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Announcing Crowdfunding for Geppetto Designs

August 20, 2013 | Andrew Simpson

Gumstix is very excited to announce that everyone in the Geppetto community can now create community campaigns for their designs! As many of you know, crowdfunding is the same model of project funding that has been made popular by sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The ability to create campaigns is built directly into Geppetto and our online store.

Users can now take their custom Geppetto designs and run a campaign to see if anyone else in the community is also interested in their design by pledging. The creator of a board sets the number of days a campaign will run for, as well as the number of boards needed for the campaign to be successful. If participants pledge enough boards before the campaign is over, each user pays their proportional share of the Geppetto setup fee (currently $1,999) as well as the cost for each board they order (this varies, but it’s usually close to $50). Another great feature is that, as part of the launch, if more than a certain number of participants join a campaign (right now it’s 50, but this may change in the future) and it’s successful, Gumstix will waive the manufacturing fees altogether, meaning each participant only pays for the boards they order, no setup fee.

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Flight of the Gumstix

COMs Power Research in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

July 5, 2013 | Andrew Simpson

Over the last few months, we’ve seen lots of great research projects powered by Gumstix pop up in a variety of journals. We covered some of these last month in our article for Electronic Products magazine, which showcased many different kinds of projects going on in robotics right now. One of the most-watched areas in the field is that of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and we’ve certainly seen quite a few articles recently focused on them.

Real-Time Airborne Target Tracking and Laser-Navigated Indoor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Xiang Gao and his colleagues have developed a real-time, embedded video target tracking algorithm that can track multiple targets using a moving camera. The system automatically tracks targets picked up by the UAV’s onboard camera as it flies over them. Using a Gumstix Overo COM with an onboard DSP processor, the researchers were able to reduce video processing time by up to 60%, while still being able to fit desktop-like power directly onto a UAV.

Moving indoors, Fei Wang and his colleagues have designed a UAV that navigates indoors using a laser-range finder and an Overo Fire COM that handles control and navigation processing. By using a COM, the researchers have been able to leverage the wireless communications capabilities and processing power to deploy their navigation algorithms.

An Intelligent Portable Aerial Surveillance System and Flying WiFi

Meanwile, Ruixiang Du at Worcester Polytechnic Institute proposed an “Intelligent Portable Aerial Surveillance System” (or IPASS for short) for his Master’s thesis. IPASS, a U.S. Air Force-sponsored project, aims to “[develop] a low-cost, light-weight unmanned aerial vehicle that can provide sufficient battlefield intelligence for individual troops.” A Gumstix Overo FE COM is at the heart of IPASS’ communications subsystem, and communicates OpenCV processed images back to a base station via WiFi.

Finally, at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, the institution’s Information Processing Group, Laboratory for Intelligent Systems and SenseFly have developed “a project aimed at developing a testbed to experiment with self-organized wireless networks carried by autonomous unmanned aircrafts.” SenseFly-created UAVs will ultimately carry the infrastructure for a self-organized WiFi network with the goal of rapid deployment. The researchers hope that this technology can one day be used in applications such as remotely communicating with rescuers and people on the ground in the event of catastrophe. The onboard Gumstix Overo Tide connected to a USB wireless card provides small and light hardware with which to power the WiFi network.

These are just some of the great research projects in UAVs using Gumstix at the moment. If you know of any others, give us a shout in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!