Posts

Machine Learning -- Neural Network

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There's an ever increasing amount of excitement in the industry surrounding Neural Networks, which seems to create a race to figure out various ways of using them. This is great, I love AI, and Neural Networks are not new, actually I believe the concept dates back to the '80s. However, I'm starting to notice a disturbing trend that a Neural Network is being treated as a magical solution, the excitement seems to be creating hordes of documentation that fail to describe what a Neural Network is and only seeks to show how to use one for a specific problem. Thus, I'm accelerating my personal schedule and writing this quick high level intro to try and fill in the gaps I'm noticing in documents/tutorials out there.I'll try to keep this really high level and talk about concepts, and the desires behind each step of the process. Thus I hope everyone that reads this will be able to remove a bit of the mystery surrounding Neural Networks. As everything having to do w…

Status of the blog

I have some news, Qualcomm is no longer running a developer advocate program. However, I've completely enjoyed activities such as giving lectures, attending meetup's, working with other devs on their projects and in general answering questions. I've also really enjoyed working on this blog. So for the foreseeable future; I will continue this blog and continue the ongoing projects.However, as I am no longer a Developer advocate for Qualcomm, my posts will not seek to specifically highlight Qualcomm ecosystem. If there is a better solution, I will highlight that instead. I intend to make this blog a resource for developers looking to work in embedded programming. I also will highlight AI and ML. Over time, I might start to introduce some news and thoughts on what new technologies mean by comparing them with their competition. If this blog ceases to be fun for me, or if it proves to never be popular enough to keep it going, I'll cease it. For now, however, I have…

Drone Controller Software -- Part 1

With looking at the last post, I'm detailing out 4 main modules. The largest of the modules is the Drone Software module. This module is the executable that actually runs on the drone itself. This post will detail the architecture of the drone executable module; along with how to get started writing it.First, let's talk about how to get navigator libraries to work in Android Studio. Remember that we're linking in a dependent pre-built library. I suggest using CMake as it has strong integration within Android Studio and is well supported. To use CMake, create the project as detailed here. Now, edit the CMakeLists.txt file and add the library dependency like so: include_directories( ${CMAKE_CURRENT_SOURCE_DIR}/snav/1.2.31_8/include ) add_executable( drone-controller ${SourceList} ) add_library( libsnav-arm SHARED IMPORTED ) set_target_properties( libsnav-arm PROPERTIES IMPORTED_LOCATION ${CMAKE_CURRENT_SOURC…

Drone VR Software Architecture

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Finally we're at the point in our opus VR drone project that we need to look at the software. If you're following along, I have the Hardware drone built, using Snapdragon flight. To review, we have knowledge of how to create a project in Android Studio that can target Snapdragon Flight for deployment. We know how to utilize the Daydream controller to build an arm model. We also know how to setup a VR project in Android Studio. Finally, we know how to communicate with the Snapdragon flight controller. So, if we put it all together, we only need to figure out how to program the controller aspect of the Flight.Thankfully there's rich support available for Flight that allows us to have full C-API control over both the ESC and the controller board. It is provided through the navigator api library.Now let's talk about the overall design. I envision four main modules: VR Controller App interfaces with the usergets positional updates and issues commandsdelivers status…

Machine Learning Part 1 -- Linear Regression

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In working with the Drone project, I ran into an issue. It turns out to be really hard to control the drone while transitioning from/to VR. That is to say, when the drone is in the air, flying it in VR is really comfortable and easy. However, getting it to the air and then transitioning to VR mode is a challenge. Also, what happens when the VR mode allows the drone to do something that would allow it to crash. There's two potential solutions to this problem. 1.) I could advocate for having a buddy control the drone and keep it in stable flight allowing manual switch over for when ready for VR control, or 2.) I could advocate for writing some AI to allow the drone to control itself.
I'm Opting for #2 for a few reasons, first I'd rather be able to fly the drone whenever I wish whether a buddy is available or not. Also I'd like to avoid creating multiple control capabilities and then require a certain skill level to control my drone. Finally, I'm a programmer, …

Soldering new connectors for the drone

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If you're with me so far, in our Snapdragon Flight VR build, you might have noticed that the connectors that come with the motors do not match the connectors that come with the Snapdragon ESC. This means we need to replace the connectors so electrons can flow and power the motors. Remembering that the whole point of this is to get electrons to flow will make the concept easier. Copper is a conductive material, that's what wires are made up of. Solder is a metal material that is highly conductive with a low melting point and solidifies fast. So the idea is we want to use the molten solder to join the wires to the new connector.I personally favor damaging a cheap motor to damaging an expensive ESC, so I opt for doing the work on the motor connections themselves and highly recommend this path. While the minimum you'll need is 4 connectors, I am really good at making mistakes, so I wound up getting 10. The first step, is to cur the old connector off. Grab a pair of wir…

Build Snapdragon Flight Drone

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In order to have a VR Drone, we must start building a real physical Drone. Snapdragon Flight offers a great light weight powerful platform we can do a lot with. While most home built Drones are built with very custom specs; I felt it necessary to make this very approachable by ensuring the Drone is built exactly as the specs outline.

Our's looks slightly different, but hey Drone time! Let's start with the parts the Drone needs:

Allen Wrench Hex Key SetDynamite 5 pc Metric Nut Driver AssortmentGeneric M2.5 Nylon Hex M-F Spacer/Screw/Nut Assorted KitLoctite Heavy Duty Threadlocker2x clock wise motors2x counter clock wise motorsac converter for battery chargerbattery chargerBatteryESC (to control the 4 props)Frame Kitgps antenna4 x DF3-3P-2DSA connectorWifi antennaGrey props: x2Red props: x2
Before jumping straight into working with the hardware, a small house keeping task must be preformed. There's a small problem, If you have big hands like me, you will have problems att…