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Sep 18, 2016, 10:17 AM
What could possibly go wrong?
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Pestilence, existenstialism and RC


I've sat down to work on the model but there are 2 or 3 little greeblies that I think are called sand-flies, little tiny beggars, sometimes they fly in a square doing these pure 90 degree turns. They are driving me insane! They haven't touched me and they don't make any noise I can hear, but they are THERE whenever I look up and I notice them so often I'm getting a complex about it. Now, I don't believe these hard-working, decent insect folk who are just trying to make a living, deserve to die just for being born as what they are, least of all when they haven't hurt, offended or stolen from me, but it's my base nature, I want to flatten them. But I can't. I should have been a Buddhist. Nrrrgh I'm obviously going to let them drive me even more crazy... the question is, were they born in my place, if so where, what are they feeding on and what must I clean? They've grown to (relatively) gigantic size, in just days I've seen them reach almost a good 2mm long from less than half that... they're feeding, growing... can I harness their power for my model? I can't bring myself to spray bugs, it's not right, they suffer and struggle, I can't be responsible for doing that to others of my Maker's creation. Plus, that's just filling my own home with poisons and suspect propellants... We don't like it when bugs poison US, so what gives me the right, eh?
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Sep 18, 2016, 11:28 AM
Waste Nothing
RickC_RCAV8R's Avatar
Bernard :

This is a funny conundrum that you present . As to using an insect to power a model ; yes actually !

When I was in high school some 40 years ago and had the lightning quick cat reflexes , I could do a Kung FU and snatch the live house flies from the air . Quickly throwing them down on a desk or suchlike would stun them enough that they cound be quickly CA glued to a toothpick between their wings on their back . Having 4 or 5 of these live flies as power does make a toothpick fly ! I ain't kidding . It was a great pastime for shirking classroom lessons . The greater lesson learned in this engineering exercise was that the insect power depletes quickly as the house fly breathes thru its back !
Sep 18, 2016, 11:42 AM
What could possibly go wrong?
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I am so impressed! A real pioneer of flight. I knew someone somewhere out there had to have tried this, and I was hoping I'd one day get to hear from that person. Thank you! Now I have to go and weigh a tooth-pick, get the engineering texts out and work out what contribution each of those 4 or 5 flies can make.

See? How could I possibly spray the poor things? When I saved up to pay off a model engine and nature sends me its own to admire for free, it hardly seems fair. You've convinced me!
Sep 18, 2016, 12:18 PM
Registered User
This is too funny! Thanks for the chuckle!

Soft landings,

Joe
Sep 18, 2016, 12:53 PM
What could possibly go wrong?
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I hereby throw open my blog to anybody with anything ridiculous, amusing, melancholy or otherwise worthy to go alongside the spirits of those toothpick-flies. Bring it on
Sep 18, 2016, 01:09 PM
What could possibly go wrong?
Thread OP
A friend suggested a reason I could kill my flies and still sleep with a clear conscience - "we're bigger than they are and anyway, we're the dominant species, other living things know this, and they might not like it but they'll understand. Other things kill them all the time." I'm not sure I really buy this - sounds like Might Makes Right to me, but my friend would say Mite Makes Fright so it's OK. But look at it this way - they're called FLIES, we define them by this thing they can do so very well, and aren't we all here at RCG because we love to make things fly too? So if they're called flies, what does that make us... Walks? Sits? Eats? Kills-Flies? I just say it's not their fault they were born bugs. So I can't really blame sharks and crocodiles and stuff for thinking, "hey! A human! Probably a poacher - get it!" Can you blame them? My local RC field is blessed with kangaroos, they're sweet little guys but they know to keep their distance. Can't blame them for that, either.
Sep 18, 2016, 02:29 PM
Waste Nothing
RickC_RCAV8R's Avatar
This IS funny ! A rarity nowadays .

The toothpick thing is for real ! Not to worry about what they (bugs) think as their lot in life is to be fodder for other predators anyway . Besides , using them in this way only HELPS them to achieve something better than what they were inteded to do , AND to further the engineering skills of we modelers ! hahahahhaha

Hatched , not born .

Pix of the Roos mate ! Don't get to see any of those around this continent . OR , perhaps a quick vid of the 'drop bears' ! There is a funny one to post . We do get the wildlife here at our local field . Elk , bears and the ever present Canadian Emu (Wild Turkey) . Cheers mate .
Sep 18, 2016, 02:49 PM
What could possibly go wrong?
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I knew I'd be challenged on this - I've already sent some emails and next time I'm there with my group, that's the mission, we want a photo with kangaroos AND a model in the same frame! (And you know about the drop bears? Shhh! Don't give it away!)

OK I think you're onto something there, yes, they're hatched, it's different. Now I'm scared of offending a Hive Mind... creepy. I still better not spray 'em then.

I actually saw this cool documentary recently with live flies stuck to some sort of tiny stand, and set up in a wind tunnel to study how they do what they do so well. It was real science, but now you've told me about the toothpick thing it has a touch of the same mix of serious and ludicrous - I reckon someone just found an excuse to get funds to glue flies to a stick again Getting paid for it kind of takes the cake!
Jan 11, 2017, 08:12 PM
What could possibly go wrong?
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Getting UAV license


Hi, this is just an extension of another post I made in my RCM Trainer 60 build log, which is quite a saga already so since this is going to be off-topic I'm placing it in my blog instead. If you've come from there to read the rest of that post, here it is.

So, as I was saying it looks like I can get fees assistance for the training and license to operate UAV's commercially. I'm not sure what the current TLA is (Three-Letter-Acronym) for pilotless aircraft, drones, UAV's, whatever, but that's what I mean. Anyone can fly a multi-copter "drone" with a camera in it, within certain legal boundaries, but in Australia at least, to operate them commercially, charging money for any services at all involving remote-piloted aircraft (oh, right, are they called RPA's now?) requires a license under CASA laws (Civil Aviation & Safety Authority), the Grand High Pooh-Bah Of All Things Fliying and his Bureaucracy thereof. It's a type of pilot's license like any other, you just have to stand on the ground to fly them.

You UAV guys know all about this but I'm just getting into it now. To finish off my post, what I'd like to do is use a large, traditional hobby-type RC model and fit the UAV autopilot and control equipment and start using it to teach myself about the technology. Basically you fly a host computer on-board, with another card that provides interfaces to the servos and any task-specific instruments and gear your application requires. The computer to go for for people like me is usually the Raspberry Pi, those things are cool. Again, some of you will know about them so sorry for those people, but it's a credit-card sized single-board system based on the CPU and other main components of modern smart phones. These days, that's a fairly serious chip. The top Rasp. Pi, I think it's called a B+, is a quad-core, 1.2 GHz chip, and there HDMI, WiFi, BlueTooth, not sure the RAM but they used to be 256M so by now it might be a gig, and it uses a slot for SD cards like a hard drive so you can have as much or little storage as needed. It runs an operating system derived from Linux, there's some particular build used for UAV's. So obviously this is quite a capable little computer, and can run not just your auto pilot but the software to run all kinds of applications, control for instruments, RT processing for signals and data from those and so on. Naturally there's GPS as found on phones, you can store scads of data to the "card drive", and you can interface very long range (50+ km) RF modems for comm's and control. Already you can imagine the applications, but it gets better.

The next stage is to add the card called something like a Navigator, I forget but I'll look it up. It completes the interface between the host computer running piloting and control software, and the air platform. Excitingly it can directly control around a dozen hobby or industrial type servos, and you might have heard that outside the hobby world these can be big and powerful, capable of driving the surfaces, for example, of a pretty big fixed-wing airframe. You have your RC receiver in there, as I understand it, and it (the navigation card) can receive signals from that, re-process them or just pass them on to flight control. But the real power is in the fact that you can run real auto-pilot software on the host computer (the Raspberry Pi), which then uses the interfaces on this card to fly and control the air platform. So, with real-time situational awareness and control, by definition the "model" in fact becomes a type of robot, one that flies on wings or rotors rather than propel itself across the ground. This software can be open-source and there are some excellent examples of it out there, capable of handling all sorts of vehicles, and all sorts of missions and flights. I'll provide links to what I know about soon.

That card can do much more, too. Importantly it has 3-axis gyros and gravitometers, so it knows where it is and which way is up. There are many extra interfaces available between it and the host, such as analogue input and output for, say, special instruments, and switching to control stuff like relays or transistor-based equipment (nav. lights would be one of the simplest examples, but anything that switches on or off, or anything that you want to query whether it's already on or off). It could drive stepper motors, maybe if you're developing your own special platforms such as a moving head to mount a camera, IR sensor, nerve gas sprayer or purple death ray, just cover the obvious.

So obviously there's everything "out of the box" to fly an intelligent and capable aerial photography platform - yes, the Pi has the phone camera on it (or so I think...) but naturally you can interface it to an improved digital or even film camera, if you need one. But of course there are very many other instruments you can attach. Personally I'd like to be developing my own optics systems, a moving-lens telescopic thing, maybe with a moving optical head on it so you can aim it wherever you want mechanically, and THAT could then feed not just a basic digital camera but other instruments too. I don't want to give away too much, because I'm thinking of my own commercial applications here, but there are all kinds of sensors that you can use. I'll post again, but if this topic interests you I'd say start by looking up LIDAR on Wikipedia. Basically it can conduct a 3D scan and generate a full 3d height-map or model of the terrain it flies over. Multi-copter drones now use this for all kinds of work - an example is mining production. Suppose you have a stacker pouring iron ore or coal onto a stack, and loaders taking it away to load trucks. How much material is in the stack now? How much went in or out today? You can keep rough track of it by the time you run the stacker and you can weigh the trucks on a weighbridge, but adding all that would be much more expensive than this - with LIDAR, you can scan and measure the actual size by volume of the stack, and do so at intervals, so you know just how much it grew or shrank by in a given period. That's powerful stuff. The same software will control a multi-copter doing inspections of buildings, cranes, stacks of shipping containers, the spread of alien spores affecting your neighbour's property, or other common tasks.

For now, what I would do is to start with an ordinary RC fixed-wing model (the applications I'm interested in suit that, as well as or better than they do "drones" as most people call multi-rotor craft) with an IC engine, probably something i'd build specially for the task, and fit the Raspberry Pi and Navigator board. I'd be running the open-source software, and basically start learning about it, programming flight missions and tasks, just simple photography to start with, and also run a project to teach myself what I could about reading the photos I take with it.

OK this is a huge topic and it's been better covered by others, but this is where my head's at right now. I have to go out for the day, right now, but I'll come back to this later.


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