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An autopilot the size of a postage stamp

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Video A Dutch research group has demonstrated an autopilot about the size of a passport photo, as the controller of a quadcopter.

Part of the open source Paparazzi free autopilot project, the Lisa/S packs a decent amount of capability onto0 such a small space. While the ARM Cortex M3 MCU only runs at 72 MHz, it's processing signals from a three-axis gyroscope and three-axis accelerometer, a three-axis magnetometer, an altimeter, a GPS, and a variety of interfaces.

Led by researcher Bart Remes at TU Delft's Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) Laboratory, the aim of the project is to cut down the size of the autopilot so that the quadcopter can carry more payloads like cameras.

“Our dream is that every fire fighter carries a MAV in his breast pocket to use for inspections of collapsed or burning buildings without having to go inside,” Remes says.

At 2 cm x 2 cm, the Lisa/S weighs just 1.9 grams. Software called Superbitrf keeps the autopilot communicating with both a normal RC controller and a fixed ground station to provide the telemetry.

Even better, for RC hobbyists: the Lisa/S is listed to ship from 1bitsquared.com in January 2014. ®

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