A few weeks ago we went out with the with our collaborators at the UNL Drone Journalism Lab to get an aerial perspective on the impact the drought has had on Nebraska. We were able to successfully fly multiple UAVs at once (over water, although not too much of it) to collect images from many perspectives. Here is the story and video from our trip out to the Platte:
We recently have been collecting some video around Nebraska with some of our collaborators using our UAVs to obtain footage that would otherwise be extremely challenging to obtain.
Here is one showing some of our observations of a Swallow nesting site at a bridge along the Platte River. We did this with our colleagues from the UNL School of Natural Resources. Surprisingly, the birds flew right around our UAV and grew accustom to it after just a couple of minutes. This video shows how it is possible to get extremely close to the nests (very challenging otherwise) and it is even possible to monitor individual nests as birds arrive and depart.
We also worked with colleague from the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture to perform aerial imaging of corn fields at different stages of growth. UAVs are particularly useful in these types of situations since it is possible to get high-up images as well as extremely close and stable images to inspect individual plants.
Finally, here is a video that combines some of the shots from above and also includes views of the Nebraska State Capital building and of course Memorial Stadium (the Nimbus Lab is located under the south side of the stadium!).
In the final project for my CSCE 236 Embedded Systems course the students added markers to their Arduino robots that they have been building over the course of the semester and taught them how to draw. There were two drawing events. The first day I gave students a set of serial commands describing the motions to draw some simple pictures (a spiral and the letters “CS”). The second day each group designed their own picture to draw. Each robot had a compass and wheel encoders to get heading and distance information, although many groups decided to simply time turns instead of relying on the compass since it was noisy and difficult to calibrate. The students worked very hard over the course of the semester learning how to interface, configure, and program embedded system. And, of course, they also had significant experience debugging code, electrical, and mechanical problems, all of which make robotics so much fun!