Burning Man Update

The push for Autonomy continues!

The plan is that SWARM will be dancing -on its own- at Burning Man at the end of August.

That means GPS and inertial measurement systems will work with control software and dance software to…. well… DANCE!

Here’s an abbreviated update that we recently sent to Lady Bee:

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Late March:

Finished design of standalone remote controls and purchased PCBs and parts (and other things like replacement SPU domes). Finished new Illuminator boards: now 4/Orb (up from 2/Orb). Retrofitted sound modules with noise reduction and code improvements. Worked on new central computer (7800 model), including kernel and code experiments, daughterboard retrofit. Also some work on Mother Node (central control) software.

April:

“Remote party” to finish assembly and programming of six remote controls. New illuminator code: now individually addressable, smoother color fades, hue/value mode beyond pure RGB. Considerable work on new Aggregator architecture (subsystem that combines GPS location data with incoming control stream).

Helped to build out electronics lab in the Box Shop so we can geek out amidst the Flaming Lotus grinding and welding. Charlie Gadeken will accept work in lieu of some rent. Also organized gear to some extent, and purchased replacement/extra tools and consolidated tools/spare parts in a dedicated toolbox.

Purchased hardware for, and worked on mounting and integrating inertial navigation units and shaft encoder sensors.

Installed and tested new illuminators. Final touches on new remote code.
Installed Aggregator on test Orb.

Major engagements at Yuri’s Night, Coachella Festival and Maker’s Faire:
good gigs for many things. Field-tested new remotes and new Aggregator.
Good visibility and substantial funding for project, not to mention very positive team-building experiences! Discovered finite lifetime of steering sensor bearings (will retrofit with new design). These performances were a major incentive towards autonomy: human remote control is only a halfway measure; the Orbs should and will drive themselves.

Early May:

Full speed ahead towards autonomy: the long push to give the orbs the ability to follow trajectories (whether pre-choreographed or generated
in real time.) Removed old central computers to prepare for upgrade.
Obtained new DC/DC converters to power new computers.

One Response to “Burning Man Update”

  1. Suicide Bots says:

    […] like a deadline to inspire amazing work. Look for the Orb Swarm dancing (all on their own!) in Black Rock City at this year’s Burning Man. Also, check out the Orb Swarm’s blog for technical details, […]

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