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Purobu: The Smart GPS Tracker

Purobu Panel from Purobu on Vimeo.


Purobu is a tiny device featuring GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Barometer, WiFi and Cellular. The device provides location and sensor data wirelessly, in real-time, to the user.

Made of anodized aluminum and measuring 2in x 2in (5cm x 5cm), 0.4in (1cm) thin, and weighing only 1.8oz (50g), the device is small and light enough to be deployed just about anywhere. It has a built-in lithium polymer battery, which will last up to a week (approx. 24 hours of continuous, real-time usage).

The device has multiple connection methods available including WiFi and Cellular, with automatic roaming between the two depending on signal strength and availability, providing unlimited range.

Onboard Technologies



• Accelerometer (3 axis)

• Gyroscope (3 axis)

• Magnetometer

• Barometer

• Thermometer

• Luminosity


• WiFi (2.4GHz)

• 2G/3G Cellular

• Bluetooth (LE)

Live Data

The following real-time information is available from both the web based control panel and API.

• Device Status (Connection, Battery, Signal Strength)

• GPS/GLONASS (Latitude, Longitude, Altitude)

• Accelerometer (X, Y and Z in G-Force)

• Gyroscope (X, Y and Z in Rads)

• Magnetometer (X, Y and Z Heading + Mag/True North)

• Barometer (Reading in hPa)

• Thermometer (Reading in °F or °C)

• Luminosity (Reading in Lux)

We have developed the control panel to be as intuitive and app-like as possible. Using the latest web technologies, including HTML5, WebSockets and CSS3, we have created a control panel that displays information in real-time without needing to refresh. This includes displaying the device's current location via a moving marker on a map, as well as important device stats, such as signal strength and battery status. You can also add and remove widgets which display sensor data.

The real-time nature of Purobu makes it perfect for drone applications. You will be able to view your drone moving live on a map and view sensor data without any noticeable delays. And because Purobu uses the cellular networks, there is no range limitation. You can even monitor in real-time from another country.

We are currently asking people to back us on Indiegogo.

To this end, we are offering our Indiegogo backers a truly fantastic perk.

The Package

1 Purobu Probe Lifetime Purobu Cloud Service (with Unlimited API) 12 Months Unlimited Cellular (Roaming in 12 Countries) Micro USB Cable + US/UK/EU/AU and 12v Car Plugs Free Global Shipping

For $149, and as an Indiegogo backer, you won't have to pay any monthly or annual fees for the service.

We really hope that the drone community will support our project and help us to reach our goals.

There are a lot more details about the project on our Indiegogo campaign page (link below).


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Mini hex + autotune = success.

Slapped together a factory-fresh mini hex with HK APM mini + 3DR ublox, balanced the props, fired it up in the air and ran autotune, in a breezy day. Over tuned with the factory settings, but flying ok now - just needs a tweak here and there.

This is the result. Needs  bit of D I think, to stablise it a bit. Maybe more aggressive control in pitch to stop the high frequency oscillations?

Will upload settings once I get home. 3.2rc7, factory fresh build.

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"Drone! Fly to the nearest Tree and come back to me"…

... this is how we would control our drones in the near future, if this promising object recognition technology from Google goes mainstream (and gets an API). I think drones and other mobile robots could benefit a lot. Check this out:

Automatic object recognition in images is currently tricky. Even if a computer has the help of smart algorithms and human assistants, it may not catch everything in a given scene. Google might change that soon, though; it just detailed a new detection system that can easily spot lots of objects in a scene, even if they're partly obscured. The key is a neural network that can rapidly refine the criteria it's looking for without requiring a lot of extra computing power. The result is a far deeper scanning system that can both identify more objects and make better guesses -- it can spot tons of items in a living room, including (according to Google's odd example) a flying cat. The technology is still young, but the internet giant sees its recognition breakthrough helping everything from image searches through to self-driving cars. Don't be surprised if it gets much easier to look for things online using only vaguest of terms.

more to read:

source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/09/08/google-details-object-recognition-tech/?ncid=rss_truncated

source: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2014/09/building-deeper-understanding-of-images.html

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LOHAN spaceplane mission summary video

We've put together a

bare-bones video summary of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission, which hopefully gives the uninitiated some idea of what we're up to.

The vid features the first snap of the Vulture 2 spaceplane mated with the

fantastical flying truss launch platform. As ever, apprentice boffin Katarina lent a helping hand, to ensure the whole rig didn't blow over:

It must be said the whole thing's looking rather splendid, and we're looking forward to getting it in the air.

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Last week I was privileged enough to be invited to fly over Stonehenge Aotearoa, a modern day full scale adaptation of the original Stonehenge.

This was a great opportunity to test out the new Spline waypoint functionality that is coming in the next release.

The footage was captured on a 3DR X8 + GoPro.

It is a combination of manual flying for the close up shots and spline waypoints for the further out footage.


Stonehenge Aotearoa is a fully functional Astronomical Structure including a gigantic clock and calendar.  In addition to demonstrating the changing altitude of the midday sun over the year, it also identifies the current date, the times of the solstices and equinoxes and the precise time of local noon. It also reveals things that we cannot see - the ever changing length of a day (due to the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit) and, where the sun would be seen if you could view it from space - the constellation it would appear to be moving through.  It also identifies the time of solar conjunctions with bright stars.

Unlike the original, visitors are able to take guided tours through the structure and see it working.



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