Wednesday, December 13, 2017

android vr still sucks


I've been anxiously awaiting decent VR tech since long before the Oculus Rift.  I had hoped that after so many years the technology would finally become usable.  The current technology is close, but it still sucks.

There are plenty of other reviews for the available VR options on Android so I will try to keep this brief.

The Google Cardboard knockoffs are probably the best bang for your buck.  They can be more comfortable than the Daydream View and benefit from the large-ish ecosystem of google cardboard apps.  My face hurt after only a few minutes of trying the Daydream so I didn't spend much time in it.  The carboard/daydream apps still suck, by the way.  If you like looking at cartoons through screen doors you might enjoy all that.

Samsung GearVR is the most comfortable headset that I've tried.  The headset fits well, keeps light out and is quite immersive.  The Oculus apps suite is still maturing and there are many experiences to choose from.  I liked this headset the most but still couldn't wear it for more than 20 minutes at a time.  And, of course, you still get the terrible "screen door" effect.  Perhaps pixel density on Android devices is still too low?

Focus is a common problem for all three headsets.  As I look to the edges of the "screens" things get blurry.  Only the center is in focus, so I have to move my head around a lot instead of just looking left or right.  For example, try reading the menu at the bottom of Oculus home without pointing your head at your crotch.

There is currently no realism in Android VR.  All apps are "low poly" or "lo fi", presumably due to processing limitations on mobile platforms.  VR on PC might be a different story today, but when the Oculus Rift Developer Kit came out it was the same thing.  The comfort and focus issues might be close to resolved but the visual quality has a long way to go.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

mowbot reboot

I'm working on rebuilding the mowbot.  One of the main problems with my previous design was that a lot of weight was placed on the front caster wheels, eventually causing them to fail.  My next iteration of the mowbot will position most of the weight over the rear drive wheels.  With less weight on the caster wheels (and perhaps sealed bearings?) they should last much longer.


The first step for the new frame is the motor mount plate.  I designed this in OpenSCAD, exported to Inkscape and finally printed on paper to use as a template.  A good friend allowed me to use his plasma cutter (thanks Chris!) to make this plate.  


Next I will start mocking up placement of the mower deck and batteries. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

AustinROV @ 360 Bridge


Check out our latest AustinROV adventure.  We saw fish!  Lots of things went wrong, some things went right, read more on the team blog.



http://www.austinrov.org/2016/04/when-you-fail-so-much-it-feels-normal.html

Monday, April 18, 2016

TinyCore NAS on Raspberry Pi

One of the major drawbacks of the Raspberry Pi is that by default you are running the OS on an SDcard.  Eventually this turns into a corrupted SDcard where you lose the OS and everything you didn't back up.  One solution is to use BerryBoot and install the OS to a USB flash drive or HDD.

The TinyCore solution is to run the OS entirely in RAM.  This frees the SDcard from the barrage of reads/writes by the regular Raspbian system (or most other OSes) thus extending the lifetime of your project/OS/data/happiness.


Is it more reliable?  I don't know yet.  If it works for a year then I'd say yes it is indeed more reliable.  For now I'll just assume it is and hope for the best.

By the way the Raspberry Pi is a terrible NAS.  I was already aware of this.  Don't build something like this unless you already understand the limitations.  For my next NAS project, possibly many years down the road, I'd like to do something with gigabit ethernet and sata.

Here are the steps for installing and configuring your very own piCore NAS.

  1. Install piCore 6.1 to an sdcard and expand the filesystem. 
  2. Run tce-ab and install ntfs-3g.tcz and samba4.tcz.
  3. Configure networking
  4. Configure samba.

Fin.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Goodbye dyn, hello google

DynDNS is kind of expensive if you pay them to manage DNS for you.  My DYN services were costing me about $45/year.  When it came time to renew this year, I shopped around and found Google to be much cheaper at ~$12/year.

https://domains.google.com/about/features.html

Check into it if you own any domain names.  If you have a cheaper service, tell me who it is.

Monday, November 23, 2015

IOIOcar p1 oops boards for free

Due to a PCB manufacturing error I'm currently overstocked on IOIOcar p1 boards and I'm giving them away! That's right free! These boards work just fine for the IOIOcar functions, they just have an incorrect hole spacing in the prototyping area. If you pay for shipping then I will send you one PCB for free.

Consider these "limited edition" since I've designed a new board and won't be making any more like this. Leave a comment or get in touch if you're interested.

You will need the parts from the BOM to complete the board:
https://github.com/depperson/dronedroid/blob/master/hardware/ioiocar-bom.csv

More details might be found on GitHub. https://github.com/depperson/dronedroid

Here is a table showing the IOIO pins utilized.

IOIO PinIOIOcar Function
3UART RX (gps tx)
4UART TX (unused)
39Servo power relay
40ESC PWM output
41Servo PWM output

Get autopiloting!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

AustinROV: For real this time

AustinROV: For real this time: We took the ROV to the San Marcos River today at La Isla. This is sort of how it went, though it doesn't tell the whole story.