New this month in ROBOT

I have two new articles in the current edition of ROBOT magazine, now on bookstands everywhere. For the younger crowd, there is an article on "SO you want to be a Robot Designer", with advice for what to study and what skills are necessary to work professionally in the Robot business. The other article is called "Everything is turning 3D" about putting stereo vision on a robot (3D glasses not included).
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Here come the Mummies!

One thing I'm famous for, at least inside my family, is the number of my hobbies. The robot thing that I do now as a profession started as one of my extra activities. I will say in my own defense that all of my hobbies have one thing in common - learning something new. I'm always looking for something new to learn and some new skill. My current favorite extra project is learning to play the electric guitar. I bought a used Fender Stratocaster and I've been enjoying learning to make music on it. The side effect of this is that I'm listening to music again for the first time in years - I had gotten away completely from listening to music other then when I was helping clean house. A recent video special on the HD channel on Sirius exposed me to a group called "Here Come the Mummies". And yes, the group dresses as mummies on stage. They play "funky" music - think Tower of Power or Parliament, if you are that old.

Here is a link:

Here come the Mummies:

Now rumor has it that this is a group of studio musicians who have contracts with various other record companies and conceal their identities so that they can play together legally. What ever the reason, the music is great and you need to give them a listen.
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What I'm working on now...

Right now at home, my personal project is to create a vertical take off and landing, horizontal flying UAV (Unmanned Aeriel Vehicle). I'm starting with an unusual model airplane called a "VFO", or Vertical Flying Object, by Electrifly http://www.electrifly.com/parkflyers/gpma1135.html

This is a "tail sitter" aircraft that takes off in the vertical position, sitting on its tail, and then pitches over and flys conventionally like a regular airplane. Right now I have the model all assembled and it can hover and fly about. I had to stop testing because I blew out my cheap lithium battery charger (from one of my RC helicopters) and need to get another.
I'm expecting to put a Aurdino-based autopilot and GPS on the aircraft and have it take off and land autonomously. It will also get a wireless camera.
There are lots of good video of the VFO on Youtube - just search "Youtube VFO". I'll keep you posted on my progress.

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