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July 2012 Blog Posts

Open Hardware: Drones and ROVs, artistic project

You may have noticed a bit of emptiness in this blog in the last few months: I’m not apologizing for not posting, just explaining what I’ve been doing in the past months (and probably doing in the next ones too).

Web.NET European Conference

Probably already obvious to the most loyal readers, I’m organizing with the help of Ugo Lattanzi the First European Web.NET Conference. It was a busy period and lots of stuff to do, but it was rewarding: we released a brand new website, we’ve got some great sponsors, and we are running the call for presentations (that at the time of writing had 27 proposals, already 6 more than the available slots). And in a few weeks we are also launching the voting for the proposals received, so a bit more of work to do on that side.

But this was not what I really wanted to talk about. I wanted to introduce you to my other hobbies: playing with Arduino, Open Hardware, Electronics for an artistic project I’m doing with Daniela and building RC/autonomous vehicles.

Les Paysages Pulsionnels

This is something I’ve been working on since last summer: Daniela and I have been working on an artistic project that involved the interaction of persons with a room via the usage of sonars, and other biometric sensors. All is developed with Arduino and Processing.

In June we also presented our project, actually the first step of the project, involving only sonars and sounds, at an art exhibition here in Bruxelles.

This project was extremely useful, because I started getting a bit more deeper into electronics and facing problems I never faced developing “only” software, like things that works with a 3m cable, but not on 10m one. And I also got more and more experienced with soldering, which was something that always scared me.

If you are interested in our artistic project, how our first exhibit went and all my testing with sonars, you can go on and have a look at the site we made for our project:

I’ll be updating it when we start working on the following steps of the projects, and I will also post some tutorials and the code used for the project.

Drones and ROVs

But my usage of Arduino is not limited to this artistic project: I’m also following very closely (and already got everything I need but still have to find the time to build it) the development of ArduCopter, a multicopter powered by a custom Arduino board that can either fly controlled by a RC transmitter or can fly autonomously as a drone, doing automated missions via waypoints or flying controlled by a base station or via normal joypad.

On the sky, but also beneath the surface of the water. This time more actively contributing, I’m following the development of OpenROV, an underwater submarine, remotely controlled by a web browser via an embedded web server running Node.js on a BeagleBone.

I’m also proposing a speech for the NodeJsConf in Brescia this November about the Node.js embedded code that drives the OpenROV.

This is giving me a lot of experience and knowledge on how RC stuff works, batteries, motors, embedded development and Node.js coding.

I’ve setup a blog with a build log of both the Arducopter and the OpenROV. If you are interested on how they are proceeding you should check it out.

These, together with the fact that at work I’m not doing a lot of development but mainly team management, were the reasons why I’m slowing down my production of .NET web development related contents.

Web.NET European Conference: date announced and call for presentations launched

It’s a great day for the Web.NET Conference today. Today we are announcing the date of the conference, launching the new site and graphics, announcing correlated events, our sponsors and launching the call for presentations.

The date

The date for the event has been fixed: it will be Saturday 20 October 2012. It will be in Milano, at Avanade Italy offices near Milano Central Railway Station. Start blocking your agenda and making your travel arrangements.

Registration will one at the beginning of September

Call for presentations

Also today we opened the call for presentation: so go ahead, and send us something you want to talk about. I recommend you read the description on the site to see the topics we are going to treat at the conference, but in a few words they have to be about: JavaScript/HTML5 frameworks, server-side lightweight frameworks and servers (both .NET and non-.NET), API/Rest, Cloud and .NET CMS.

The call will stay open till the 5 August, and after that will start a public voting to let everyone vote for the sessions.

New Site Launched

Thanks to GreenBubble, our first official sponsor and award winning Web Agency from Italy, we are launching our new web site and visual identity. The site is built with ASP.NET MVC 4, RavenDb and HTML5.


In the future we’ll move it to a cloud hosting, probably Azure or AppHarbour.

The events of the conference

The Web.NET conference is not just about the conference itself, but there will some events around.

  • Saturday 20 October, 10 to 18, there will be main conference: 19 sessions and 4-5 tracks
  • After the conference, from 19 to midnight, there will be a Hackathon, where you could sit together with like-minded developers and built something cool using the technologies shown during the day
  • Monday 22 October, a full day of training on RavenDb directly held by Ayende himself, still in the Avanade offices of Milano. This is a paid event organized directly by Oren, but if you attend the Web.NET conference you’ll receive a coupon code that gives you a 30% discount on the price of the training


Before closing a word on the sponsors, without which the conference will not be possible:

  • Avanade Italy is giving us the venue, for the 3 events, and offering the coffee break
  • GreenBubble that has designed our awesome new site and will take care of all the visual identity
  • will sponsor the conference t-shirt and help us in the promotion of the event
  • GitHub will buy beer, from Birrificio di Lambrate, for all of us
  • RavenDb offered us a free license of the server and will come and give a talk and is giving the discount for the attendees
  • Umbraco is a great friend of us, and will come give a talk and will have some prize for everyone

If you want to participate as sponsor, please drop me a message and we can inform you of the possible options available.

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