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.