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IOS/Android Remote Controlled Blimp With Video Feedback

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In a Blimp of an Eye.

This project was the eye catcher of my Artist In Residency at Instructables.

As RC blimps are my passion, I definitely wanted to do some blimp project during my stay at Instructables.  When I came across the Dension WIRC system, the lingering idea of building one with live video feedback became a real plan.  The Dension WIRC (for Wi-Fi Remote Control) is a plug-and-play system to control remote control models with an iOS or Android device and send a live video stream to the device.

It is very easy to set up and use, but at about a 100g, it is rather heavy compared to my other blimp projects. Taking in account an extra 100g for propulsion, batteries and construction, I went looking for a readily available balloon with a lift capacity of over 200g. A 3ft latex balloon turned out to balloon carry 180g to 330g depending on the diameter it’s inflated to (2.5ft resp. 3ft). It also turns out these balloons can hold for weeks, coming close to the performance of foil balloons.

From the spherical shape (and from watching Doctor Who) sprung the idea to make it into a large eye. I named it ‘In the Blimp of an Eye”.

I tried to keep the build as simple as possible to make sure to have a functional end result. I was a success, be it that it is very sensitive to drafts and controlling it was quite a challenge. I will discuss some ideas to improve on that throughout this Instructable.

Here is video (I converted the recorded mjpeg with VLC, but with quite some quality loss):


I dedicate this Ible to Noah, for managing the AIR program like an unstoppable force of nature during the very busy time involved with moving Instructables to Pier 9 and at the same time being a warm host to us artists.

And I thank Audrey for the great main picture.
 
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Hi!
I'm also using a Dension WIRC in my project .

But sometimes when I connect the Dension WIRC to my I pad mini, It doesn't show the images a camera. I'm still able to control the motors, but the screen is just black.

I'm using 2 camcorders (C170) that's connected by a USB hub. Switching the camera's also doesn't work not all of the time. But being sure that 1 camera works is more important.

Do you also have the same problem as me?

Or did you already solved it?
sorry for my bad English

masynmachien (author)  100whitetiger0014 months ago

It could be the cut-off voltage for the camera, which is usually set higher than the overall voltage cut-off (see the manual to find these settings). So when the voltage is dropping to low the camera(s) stop working, but the rest still does.

If this doesn't help, try contacting the people at Dension, They are quite helpful.

Thank you very much.

I've already done that by setting the minimum voltage to 5 V.

I'm using a 12V battery to power the Dension, and 5V to power the servo motors.
But I still get the camera problem.

I'll try to contact the people at Dension.

One question did you update you're dension to the new firmware or what firmware do you have?

masynmachien (author)  100whitetiger0014 months ago

I didn't update, as it did work. I don't now what firmware I had. The one I used is at Ibles HQ now, so I can't check.

Everyone goes "Oh helium, helium - must have some helium."

But while the natural density of hydrogen and then helium is very low, there are many other gasses, that are low density as well, meaning a sack full floats or rises in the air, and because of the molecular size, they basically do not leak out of the material they are put into - or if the material is atomically porous, the leakage rate is very, very low - compared to helium.

And they are relatively cheap and easy to get and use.... just mind the static electricity and sources of ignition - and everything will be well.

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/gas-density-d_158.html

Air 1.293 Kg/m3

Hydrogen 0.0899 Kg/m3

Helium 0.1664 Kg/m3

Methane 0.717 Kg/m3

Ammonia 0.769 Kg/m3 - ammonia is good fun - sure clears the sinuses >:(

You could build an airship filled with methane - relative to air with a density of (rounded up or down for convenience) of 1.3Kg per cubic meter, with an airships displacement of 1 cubic meter (neglecting air ship weight), that would have about 600 grams of lifting capacity.

So 10 cubic meters of thin plastic garbage bags - with at least some kind of reasonable rate of ascent, you could lift 5Kg.

But the helium - 10 cubic meters of that could lift 10Kg.

(load rounded down by 1Kg to give positive buoyancy)

Methane in the crude industrial grades, is dirt cheap, and readily available - comparatively speaking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flammability_limit

Methane

Lower Flammability Limit in air 4.4–5%

Upper Flammability Limit in air 15–17%
masynmachien (author)  Wroger-Wroger1 year ago
Sure, there are cases where other gasses, flammable gases, can be used for lighter-than-air applications with little risk.
But I wouldn't use for a 300 liter indoor blimp.
zieak1 year ago
I'm so glad I got to see the prototype! Great use of the most attractive but uncomfortable seating available.
J-Five1 year ago
The Eyes have it!!

It's brilliant!
ataylor9991 year ago
Hello! what can I use in the place of a laser cutter?
masynmachien (author)  ataylor9991 year ago
As mentioned in Step 4 you can layer some thin wood strips or carbon fibre rods and glue them together in a curved shape.

Or you could use a contour saw on the plywood and drill a lot of holes to make some kind of lattice structure.
Pointy1 year ago
I love that ' bench' your on in the first picture!
That one goes on the ' to make in the far future, when I have my own home'-list.
Had to be said...
masynmachien (author)  Pointy1 year ago
The Instructables/Autodesk office is beautiful and has more cool furniture, like a swing meeting table hanging from the ceiling :-)
I was drooling at that too. So much love. I think we need an instructables tour!
jtechian1 year ago
I would hang on the back side something to represent an optic nerve cluster :)
Looks great..
ynze1 year ago
You didn't bring this to Kerkrade MF, did you?

Eyebelievable project, douze points!
masynmachien (author)  ynze1 year ago
Thanks!

It's still keeping an I on Instructables HQ.
Kiteman1 year ago
It needs extra, smaller eyes...
... and teeth.
masynmachien (author)  Kiteman1 year ago
It took me a while to remember the Monty Python monster, but yes, that is some great inspiration for a next build :-)
Monty Python?

You're my age, how do you not know about Beholders?
ynze Kiteman1 year ago
Beholders? I know the fellas in the link you gave as an annoying green eyeball monster from a certain movie about Monsters...
masynmachien (author)  Kiteman1 year ago
I think I first saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail on a student organised movie night and later again on DVD. I still love it.
and7barton1 year ago
I had a sudden urge to shout out - "I AM NOT A NUMBER ! - I AM A FREE MAN !"
IamWe1 year ago
Well done! A detailed and complete instructable. You spent your time at Instructables very well. Nice to see the people behind this website through an other eye.
Ugifer1 year ago
Love the project - and the eye design is great!

Just for reference, if you ever need to lift even larger payloads then a massive range of weather-balloons are available. Best source in the UK that I know of is Random Engineering: http://randomsolutions.co.uk/Random_Aerospace/Balloons.html

Want a balloon with an 8m burst diameter? They are your guys!
masynmachien (author)  Ugifer1 year ago
Thanks!
fraenzaen1 year ago
Hi nice project! Often thought of something like this. Didn't know that a small baloon is able to carry that much weight. Should have calculated or tested this.
masynmachien (author)  fraenzaen1 year ago
As a rough estimate one liter of helium at atmospheric pressure carries one gram.
Amazing job, Yvon!
masynmachien (author)  M.C. Langer1 year ago
thanks
dbvinoff1 year ago
this is soooo awesome!! :D
kraftmatic1 year ago
That is awesome. Always watching... You should call it the NSA Blimp.