February 6, 2007

Microcontroller Ideas + Scavcode

I should really learn how to work with microcontrollers, seeing as they're so cheap and ubiquitous these days. The Atmel AVR chips are supposedly very easy to develop with -- it's possible to build all the development tools from scap, if needed -- and have a well-supported open-source toolchain.

Some ideas for microcontroller projects:

  • Rocket launch coordination: it would be easier for THORHAMMER to reach target altitude using multiple rocket boosters, but they have to be ignited in a coordinated fashion. I would use a circuit that can sense whether each engine has fired, which would unlatch an electromechanical launch stop only when they are all lit. A human can't do this, since an engine only burns for a second or so, but losing the first few milliseconds of burn time should be fine.

  • Electric field mill readout: self-explanatory.

  • THOR onboard altimeter/data logger. Obviously only for the prototype.

Unrelated project: ScavCode -- it occurs to me that it should really be possible to train an OCR to read, given certain expectations of the list format, well enough to process digital images emailed from a camera or cell phone. Also, I did plan to release the code this year, which is still a worthwhile goal. Look at Gocr and OCRad as backends, and unpaper as a filter. Alternately, look at WeOCR web service.

Posted by mill1974 at 10:30 PM