Pi Zero Robot Car

One of the flag ship demos Dan Julio has worked up for the Pi Platter and Pi Zero combination is a zippy little FPV (First Person View) robot car. It was cobbled together mostly with spare parts from the SSD Boulder Hackerspace.

Watching Dan expertly remotely control the 2.5 wheel robot  car from his Mac laptop is entertaining.   What is a 2.5 wheel robot?  Simple – there a are a left and right powered wheel.  A ball bearing at the end of a 3D printed post provides the 3rd contact point to the ground.   Hmmm… maybe Dan should have called his robot a “trike” instead of a “car?”

Dan has set up the robot with a cheap Logitech USB webcam. The cam streams its’out put to a control Mac laptop.  The distance sensor analog signal is digitized by the Pi Platter and then also sent to the control Mac.  The communication link is over WiFi.

You can see some video footage of the robot car in our kickstarter video.  And, a more complete technical description is on the SwitchDoc.com blog.

Pi Platter/Pi Zero Robot Car

Pi Platter/Pi Zero Robot Car


Cold Springs Fire

Cold Springs Fire near Nederland, CO

Here’s a little story to underscore my interest in Uninterrupted Power Supplies.

The Rocket Blue Automation office is high up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, above Boulder. It is literally at the end of the power line. Now, it stands to reason that as you get further away from the power plant, you have more reliability problems. That is – the power tends to go out more often.

Here in the mountains, we have snow storms, ice storms, hurricane strength wind gusts and lighting storms.

But early this week we faced a different king of threat. We had to suddenly evacuate the office because of a forest fire! Fortunately, the power stayed on in my neighborhood. However, there were areas about 5 miles away where the power went out because the Cold Springs fire burnt right through the power poles!

During the mandatory fire evacuation, I was still able to monitor the “health” of my office because of web cams and various environmental sensors. Matter of fact, you can see the same real time view I see from my office window at http://lazyz.org/ .

We live in the most fascinating time in history. Now us ordinary mortals have such the ability to see, hear, sense and even “be” in more than one place at a time. But this “power” requires that we make sure our various IoT devices are powered up.




The Pi Platter Kickstarter has been kicked off

Pi Platter

Pi Platter with connection detials

Months and months of planning and attention to myriad details are about to pay off.

The “Pi Platter” is a very versatile board for Makers, Scientists and Educators.  In fact, it’s so versatile that we wrangled with what to call it:
Mighty Mite, Versaboard or Pi Platter?  In the end, the Pi Platter won out.

Rocket Blue

Rocket Blue

To the moon!