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Working on ProductOrbit

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

ProductOrbit - 360 degree product shots made easy

Lately I have been busy working on a turntable for 360 degree product shots. We went to the PhotoPlus Expo in NYC Javits Center to launch it. Everything went very smoothly and there was a lot of interest.

The expo floor was so messy the day before the start — machines, materials and workers everywhere! The next day everything looked so polished. It was also funny how everybody started taking things apart right at the finish time on the last day.

In all, very interesting experience. Now I know what it’s like to exhibit at expos!

High ALtitude Object

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

My little sister didn’t believe that the earth was round, so I decided to launch a helium balloon to an altitude of 30km and shoot pictures and videos. I have posted a write-up with selected pictures and videos here. A launch and retrieval video is also available.

High ALtitude Object

Just a change from DS projects 😀

RoboCtrl – Web control interface for robots

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

I have released RoboCtrl. That’s the control interface used for RoboDS. I hope that it will be useful for other people and other robots.

RoboCtrl is a web control interface for robots. It features real-time video streaming using Flash, web browser control and chat interface utilizing AJAX and queuing system for multiple users. Multiple cameras are supported. It runs on any platform supporting Flash and JavaScript. The server-side part runs on a PHP web server.


MIDI In/Out Hardware for DS

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

Posted schematics, pictures and brief instructions for connecting MIDI input and output to DS to the DSerial Wiki. MIDI output is very easy, because it requires no components besides wire and a 5-pin DIN connector. MIDI input, on the other hand, requires a 3.3V optocoupler because MIDI uses a current loop to prevent introduction of noise.

DS MIDI Input/Output


RoboDS Public Interface

Monday, March 5th, 2007

You can now control my prototype RoboDS bot located in my basement in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Please go to Yes, the robot does have a laser 😛

The setup consists of open RoboDS prototype and DSerial2, 3 cameras, an old computer acting as a camera server and my webhost. One camera is a Canon PowerShot A70 and provides periodic photos uploaded via FTP. Second camera is Logitech webcam, it provides top view video stream to the driver. Third camera is a wireless spy camera attached to the bot itself. It provides first-person view to the driver. The web interface uses AJAX with a PHP back-end to control the bot as well as to control the queue of people. Main concerns were the number of people and security. I cannot host all the people from my home connection, so I can only provide live video stream to the driver. Other people in the queue can see the digicam photos periodically uploaded via FTP. Security was needed so that it wouldn’t be possible to cut in line or view the live video stream or control the bot despite not being in the driver position.

Most of the schematics are available at NaWiki. A hi-def assembly video will be posted soon.

Special thanks to my brother Ivan (Xploder) for Flash code as well as part of the PHP code.

Here is a video of the hardware setup:

DSerial2 and RoboDS released

Monday, March 5th, 2007

DSerial2 and RoboDS kits are now available for pre-orders.

DSerial is an adaptor for Slot-1 with a couple of different ports available: GPIO, UART, RS-232, USB client, ADC and PWM. This allows to connect NDS to devices like MIDI keyboards, computers, GPS receivers, keyboards, R/C servos, sensors, anything with a serial port and more. The firmware for DSerial is open-source and can be reprogrammed on-the-fly from DS if needed for a particular program.

RoboDS is an open robotic platform for the DS. It runs a minimal HTTP server and can be remotely controlled via NDS Wi-Fi. It is very simple to construct as it uses 3 equal servos (2 of them are modified for continuous rotation). Sensors can be added as needed and connected to DSerial2. I will post a hi-def assembly video shortly.

DSerial GPS Project

Monday, February 5th, 2007

Brief instructions for connecting a GPS module to DSerial have been posted to NaWiki. At this time raw NMEA strings can be read in the console. I will update my old Google GPS for DS hack to use this at some point.

DSerial GPS


Moved to a new host

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I had about 24 hours of downtime while moving to a new host. Everything should work now. Also upgraded WordPress to the new 2.1 version at the occasion, which is very nice. The new host offers 2TB monthly transfer which is good for many high-resolution pictures and perhaps new videos 😉

© 2010 Alexei Karpenko (natrium42)