This summer, we at Wireless Trondheim have been working at a Web BLE API drone. The idea was simple: Buy a standard commercially available drone, swap the standard flight controller with a custom one and get it flying.
The standard drone was a Spedix build kit from makeadrone.net. Our custom flight controller was based on the amazing nRF52 from Nordic Semiconductor. The nRF52 has good support for BLE, and we was in particular interested in Physical Web (eddystone) and BLE Web API.
The BLE Web API opens a whole range of new opportunities for your standard Web browser. This was not even remotely possible before without building a standard app. We thought, why should you buy expensive radio controllers for your RC toys, can’t you just controll them via your phone?
So we made a remote control for our browser using the BLE Web API. The prototype is simple, but it works! We send the standard channels throttle, yaw, pitch and roll to the flight controller. But it is possible to send plenty more data. Not just from the remote controller to the drone, but from the drone to the remote as well. Imaging sending data like battery status, location and all sort of fancy information. The possibilities are there, we are not limited by the 5-6 channels that are usual for most starter RC radios.
As for the Physical Web part of the flight controller, we believe there are plenty good reason to put this into a flight controller. One of the key reasons that stop people from building their own drone is that they believe it is too complicated. We ask, why not make it stupid simple? With Physical Web and BLE Web API, it is possible to make a very interactive and simple building guide.
For example, it is very easy for the flight controller to check if everything is connected correct, and it should be even easier for the flight controller to tell the user which cable that aren’t connected as it should via the interactive guide.
Are you interested to see more? Come and see us at Trondheim Maker Faire 26. – 27. August. We will be showcasing the drone, and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions.
On Monday 23rd May we organized a LoRa workshop at DIGS. About 20 participants joined the meetup.
The purpose of this 2-hour workshop was to get hands-on experience with using the LoRa network in Trondheim. LoRa is a new radio standard for connecting things to the internet. Its features are long range and low battery. It is useful to power the internet of things.
Bernt-Olov gave us a small tour of his company and their products.
One interesting fact from Bernt regarding LoRa is that it is very resilient to jammers. The reason is because LoRa uses spread-spectrum techniques in which a particular bandwidth is deliberately spread in the frequency domain.
For a few months we have had two lora gateways up and running in Trondheim. One on the roof of olavskvartalet. Its gateway_ID is AA555A0008060353.
Another one is located on the roof of samfundet. Its gateway_ID is AA555A0008060252.
They are both forwarding data packets to The Things Network.
LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification intended for wireless battery operated Things. The intention is to provide infrastructure for the internet of things. More and more devices will be connected to the internet.
The gateways are publicly accessible. This means they will accept all packets and ship them off to The Things Network. To grab the data you use the http api.