My Blog has Moved!

I won’t be updating this wordpress blog any longer, I’ve created a website at http://coreyshuman.com where I will be posting about my projects from now on. Go check it out!

coreyshuman.com

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Back to Work on the 3D Gimbal

It’s been a busy few months for me: I started 2 new jobs, traveled Europe, and I’m in the process of buying a house. But I’ve been dying to make more progress on my projects, so today I pushed through on the next component of the 3D Gimbal.

In the previous demo videos of the gimbal, I was using a separate platform (PIC32) to operate the servos. To consolidate resources, and simplify design, I wanted to transfer the servo operation to one of the Raspberry Pis already on the gimbal.

A few months ago, I experimented with using the Raspberry Pi’s IO pins to run servos. The code I put together for that can be seen HERE. I’m using IO pins 4, 17, and 18 to operate the X, Y, and Z axis servos, respectively. I used protoboard to create a simple breakout board between the Raspberry Pi and the servos. External power was used for the servos. Here is the initial design sketch I put together:

servo breakout board

In the final design, I decided to add a power LED and status LEDs for each of the servo channels. I also flipped the servo connectors as compared to the above sketch. Here is the finished board with everything connected:

servo breakout connected

Right now the software is converting the tracking position for each servo into an 8-bit value to transport from the Oculus Rift to the Raspberry Pi. The result of this is somewhat choppy motion in the servos, so I will be switching to use 16-bit values next time I touch the software. Besides that, it’s working well and I’m very happy with the result. The next step is to figure out how to mount this breakout board to the gimbal.

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Interactive LED Beer Pong Table Has More Features Than You Can Shake a Stick At

This is insane… so much time and detail put into this project. Well done. Now I want to build one.

Hackaday

LED Beer Pong

Holy cow. The amount of detail and functionality that went into this Interactive LED Beer Pong Table is absolutely incredible.

The table features 384 individually controlled RGB LEDs, covered with a 2′ x 8′ Lexan sheet to protect them from spills. Each cup holder (pod) contains an additional 4 RGB LEDs and an IR sensor that can detect whether or not the cup is in place — if it is removed, the IR sensor triggers an animation on either the 32 x 12 LED grid across the middle of the table or the other pods.

The rings of LEDs on the outside edge act as VU meters and pulse to the music in different animation patterns. What is really impressive is that [Jeff] also included a ping pong ball washer — A water reservoir connects under the table between the two LED rings at either end. When you put the ball…

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My Thoughts on Facebook Buying Oculus VR

If you haven’t heard about it yet, Facebook plans to purchase Oculus VR, the makers of the Oculus Rift HMD, for 2 billion in cash and stocks. You can read more here: Facebook To Buy Oculus VR

I’ll admit, I had the same knee-jerk reaction as so many others on social media today; thoughts of how the Oculus would become some bastardized FarmVille simulator bombarded with ads definitely occurred to me. But I think we should look at the positive potential this opportunity gives to Oculus and immersive technology in general.

It is important to realize that Oculus isn’t going to be the only player in the VR market. Just this week, Sony just announced their Project Morpheus HMD for the PlayStation 4. However, Oculus has a significant head start and a lot of influence on how the market will pan out. I feel that the most important factor for the success of the VR is to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. If it remains a novelty for only hardcore enthusiasts, I really think it will go the way of the 3D television, which is a struggling market. Go ahead and Google “3D television sales” and you will see the term “dead” in 4 of the top 8 results. That is certainly not what I want for Oculus, and VR in general.

So here’s why I think this deal will work out well for VR. First, Oculus is going to need the extra financial leverage to push out their final consumer product. Oculus already ran into an issue with the DK1 where they ran low on components and had to suspend sales. Now this may not be a big deal, as it could be argued that they switched most of their components over to the new hardware that will be used in the DK2 anyways. But even John Carmack agrees, “I expect the FB deal will avoid several embarrassing scaling crisis for VR.” Representatives from both sides of this acquisition have assured the press that games will come first, even saying that FB intends to accelerate the rate of gaming development, keeping games the priority. And as much as I don’t like social media style FB games, if this deal means that more people can learn about and experience the Oculus Rift, that has to be a good thing. Again, I don’t want to do a Google search for Oculus in the coming months and read “Dead” repeatedly.

Finally, here is what actually makes me cautiously excited about the acquisition. I’m a huge proponent of exploring the uses of VR in science and technology, as can be seen in my projects here on this site. So I like the idea of FB pursuing other ways to use VR besides gaming. Some of the most intriguing experience on the Oculus right now aren’t even games as much as they are attempts at social experience in VR. My opinion is that, if VR is successful as a consumer technology, then VR gaming will also be successful. So why not look into other ways to use that technology and make it ubiquitous in the home? If you only use a HMD to play games, that could be a hard sale to many families, with all the other consoles and peripherals on the market today. But if it can also be used to watch movies, perform Skype calls, study and build 3D models, read books, explore the world… these are the compelling use cases that will push VR from novelty to necessity in the home. If this acquisition means that we’re one step closer to hanging out with holograms of our friends, and if it means that I can keep on building robots controlled with an HMD, then I’m excited for the future.

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3D Printer Progress

Here’s a quick update on the 3D printer I’m building! As soon as the parts arrived I dug into the box and pulled everything out. I ordered a TON of hardware, all through ServoCity.com

2014-02-25 19.40.28

They event sent me some candy! I quickly consumed it as I progressed through the build.

Candy!

I can’t hype ServoCity enough. Even with how large my order was (parts list below), they shipped the next day, and the box arrived in less than a week. In fact, I just put it another order on Monday (I forgot some pieces for the printer) and it didn’t ship until today (Wednesday), but ServoCity upgraded me to Priority Shipping for free to make up for it. Much appreciated, I can not wait to get this printer frame done. Here’s a picture of the progress so far:

3D Printer

15′ x 18′ 3D Printer

Parts List (partial):

  • 15 inch Aluminum Channel x 6
  • 18 inch Aluminum Channel x 1
  • 18 inch length x 1 inch dia. Aluminum Tubing x 4
  • 24 inch length x 1 inch dia. Aluminum Tubing x 4
  • 1 inch Bore Tube Clamp A x 16
  • 1/4 inch x 12 inch Precision Shaft x 4
  • 1/4 inch x 8 inch Precision Shaft x 2
  • 1/4 inch to 1/4 inch Set Screw Shaft Coupler x 3
  • 1/4 inch Shaft Clamp x 6
  • .250 inch ID x .500 inch OD Flanged Ball Bearing x 28
  • 1/4 inch Bore Pinion Pulley 16T x 14
  • 1/4 inch x 2 inch Precision Shaft x 8
  • 1/4 inch Collar x 16
  • Channel Slider A (pair) x 6
  • Dual Screw plate (pair) x 6
  • 6-32 x 5/16 inch Socket Head Machine Cap Screw x 156
  • 6-32 x 1/4 inch Socket Head Machine Cap Screw x 12
  • XL Belt Mount A x 7
  • Aluminum Hub Spacer (1/4 inch think) x 7
  • 90 Degree Quad Hub Mount B x 18
  • Timing Belt (22 feet)
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Ridiculously Over-Powered Quadrotor Spotlight Kills Battery, Blinds People

This is a cool project. I want to add lighting to the front of my camera gimbal, although I think this would be overkill.

Hackaday

dscn0887

Flying quadrotors at night is awesome — but being in the dark tends to be a problem for not crashing them… Tired of not being able to get successful GoPro videos, [Diode] decided to strap a light to his quadrotor. A 3000+ lumen, 50W LED to be precise.

He found the 50W LED for $20 online with the driver! The only problem was it gets super hot. He salvaged a heat sink from an Xbox 360 which helps to keep the temperature at bay… but also increases the weight of the quad by a bit too much. Luckily his quadrotor is pretty powerful — but with the added weight, and 50W power drain, his flight time went from 15 minutes… to about 3 minutes.

Three of the most awesome minutes ever! Just watch the following video — the night-time possibilities are endless!

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Stereoscopic 3-Axis Camera Gimbal for Oculus Rift

Here is a demonstration of the Stereoscopic camera gimbal I have built. The 3-axis gimbal’s motion is synced to an Oculus Rift. The gimbal hardware was built primarily with with Actobotics parts and Hitec Servos from ServoCity.com

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Corey Shuman

Corey Shuman

I'm an Electrical Engineer with a passion for software, drumming, video games, and spicy peppers.

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