Antares 20E: a full scale electric sailplane 
Monday, November 20, 2006, 06:56 PM - Flying Contraptions
Lange Flugzeugbau sells a full-scale electric powered sailplane called the Antares 20E.

This is not a model: it's a full-scale electric saiplane.
The power is supplied by 72 Lithium Ion cells from SAFT, which can take the sailplane to 3000 feet on a full charge.

The saiplane has an on-board computer running Linux.

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Sony Mylo 
Monday, November 20, 2006, 06:35 PM - Robotics
LinuxDevices has an article about the new Sony Mylo, a hand-held computer running Linux/Qtopia with Wifi, music and video playback, Skype, etc...

The interesting thing is the Freescale i.MX21
around which the Mylo is built. It has a lot of interesting features for embedded robotics applications.

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IMU for 100 bucks 
Wednesday, November 15, 2006, 12:02 AM - Electronics
Sparkfun has a 5 degree of freedom Inertial Measurement Unit for a little over $110. It does Roll, Pitch, X, Y, and Z, not Yaw. Should be easy to build a UAV auto-pilot with one of these.

Perhaps one could add an altimeter based on this barometric pressure sensor, with a claimed 9cm resolution. One could also include a GPS using one of those modules.

Sparkfun has tons of cool sensors, electronic components, microcontrolers, and development kits for robotics and such.
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high-power laser from a DVD burner 
Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 11:42 PM - Electronics
Fun with Lasers is a nice page about how to get the high-power laser diode from a DVD burner. The power is roughly 200mW. Since a DVD burner is roughly $35, that's a whole lot cheaper than the $200/150mW Pulsar laser from Wicked Lasers.

A 200mW laser can burn through plastic. I wonder if this could be used to build a cheap CNC Laser machine to cut Depron.....
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Techno Toys? 
Monday, November 13, 2006, 04:26 PM
My name is Yann LeCun, welcome to my non-serious blog. Most days, I'm an academic and computer scientist at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. I work on such things as machine learning, computer vision, and robotics (see my serious home page or my lab's web site if you want to know more about that).

But enough bragging: this blog is about my other interests, which are pretty typical for a geek with an engineering background like me
- Technological Toys
- Miniature Flying Contraptions: including radio-controled planes, particuarly if they are electric powered, very small, and unusual in their design.
- Robotics: I'm not just a professional roboticist, I'm also an amateur. I like autonomous robots, particulalry when they can fly.
- Music: particularly Jazz, contemporary, and synthesized music, and Renaissance music.
- Technology and Politics.

A sample of my airplanes can be found here.

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