Autonomous Car pt.3

Date Fri 05 April 2013

It's been a while since my last update on the autonomous car project. Lots of things have been changed or redone. The biggest upgrade was replacing the Arduino mega with a Chipkit max32, which I had discussed in my last post. The increased speed of the Chipkit board has really improved the car. The first thing I noticed was that the loop time decreased from about 50ms on the Arduino to around 20ms with the Chipkit. This means that the gyro scope data can be updated much faster and helps produce a more accurate heading. I highlighted most of the car's new features in the image below.


One of the added bonuses of the Chipkit is that it has a 3.3V logic level. This works out well since all the sensors are also 3.3V, and I could easily add an SD card for data logging without having to buy a ...

Utah Climbing

Date Thu 07 March 2013

Most of my Utah adventures, aside from snowboarding, take place in the small desert town of Moab. My last trip there was in 2011 with Kate. We flew to Salt Lake and spent a few days snowboarding. Then we packed up and made the 4 hour drive to Moab, where it was 800F and sunny.

I’d been to Salt Lake several times, but this was my first trip out to the desert. We had a few of the easier intro-to-desert climbs picked out. First up was the South Six Shooter Tower, an hour or so south of Moab. That's the tower on the left next to the North Six Shooter.

It's hard judge perspective from this picture, but those towers are huge! The ...

Lanthanide Chemistry

Date Sat 12 January 2013
Tags chemistry

In graduate school, the main project I worked on was the synthesis of the lanthanide coordinating molecule (ligand) shown below. The planned goal of this project was to try and coordinate two lanthanide atoms (dinuclear) into one ligand and then explore the electronic properties of the resulting complex.

Things didn't go quite as planned and instead of crystallizing a two lanthanide complex, I was only able to get a single lanthanide complex. The crystal structure I got of the europium complex below shows that there is only one ligand wrapped around one europium atom.

Bad news! I wasn't ready to throw the whole project out yet though. I thought that there might be a chance that the ...

UGV Board for the Autonomous Car

Date Sat 24 November 2012

UGV Board v1.1

Unmanned Ground Vehicle board for the ChipKit Max32

The UGV board is my attempt to put together all the things I found useful in building my autonomous car and a few new features that I thought would be good to have. As always you can find the latest source files for all my work on my Github page. The goal was to build a board that will work well with my autonomous car setup but also have the ability to adapt for use in other autonomous robotics projects.


At the time of writing this the UGV v1.1 has the following features.

  • Onboard gyroscope

  • MicroSD card

  • Breakout for a GPS antenna ...

Cell phone charger on

Date Mon 12 November 2012
Tags hackaday

After hurricane Sandy hit my area I was without power for 11 days. During that time I made a simple cell phone charger using a LM317 voltage regulator to stay connected to the outside world.

Autonomous Car pt. 2

Date Mon 10 September 2012

After much work with the Python OpenCV library and testing the image processing on the car, I've decided that I'll leave the computer vision part of this project for later. The simple line detection works well for images like the ones in my previous post. But for more complicated images, such as roads without yellow lane markers, line detection won’t be enough. I'm looking into using a neural network with OpenCV to keep the car on the road.

Now I am working on the steering. My goal is for the car to steer into the direction of the next waypoint from its current location. I also got a lot of new stuff for the car. Here's how it looks today. I upgraded to an Arduino mega (see below for why), Xbee for sending data wirelessly to my laptop, and a GPS module.


I spent a lot of ...

New Jersey Climbing

Date Wed 18 July 2012

Not to far from me is the Delaware Water Gap which spans the boarder of NJ and PA. And on the NJ side is home to Mt.Tammany, which offers some fun and adventurous multi-pitch trad climbing. Just one picture for now but I hope to have a lot more soon.