Engineer | WGM Consulting
Engineer, PhD, lecturer, freelance technical writer, blogger & tweeter interested in robots, AI, planetary explorers and all things electronic. STEM ambassador. Designed, built and programmed my first microcomputer in 1976. Still learning, still building, still coding today.
2 weeks ago
Space tourism was brought a step closer today by Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft giving the boss Richard Branson a brief lift above the atmosphere. In a few days’ time, Blue Origin will attempt the same feat with their boss Jeff Bezos.
3 weeks ago
The need to interrupt a computer program and switch to another piece of code when an event occurs that just won’t wait has been present since computers were invented. All computer chips have dedicated onboard interrupt hardware, but what’s it for?
1 month ago
The RC Servo or Hobby Servo has been used to move the control surfaces of Radio-Control (RC) model aircraft for many years. It’s very popular with builders of both small humanoid robots and when converted for continuous rotation, wheeled robots.
2 months ago
Embedded computers control things in ‘real-time’ based on sensor data fed into algorithms that contain simple or complex mathematical functions. The way numbers are handled in the machine is critically important for successful operation.
2 months ago
Planet Earth is surrounded by a cloud of orbiting objects almost all of them man-made, from spent rocket stages, dead and functioning satellites to bits of debris. A theoretical collision problem is starting to look serious. Solutions are needed.
3 months ago
A real first for NASA this time: an aircraft built on Earth has flown on another planet: Mars. Ingenuity may be tiny, but its flight today means that planetary exploration by ‘drone’ has arrived. For planets with an atmosphere, at least.
3 months ago
The opportunity to make a performance comparison between the old Z80 MPU and a modern dsPIC MCU came up when I found the benchmark results for my 1982 version of the Forth language.
4 months ago
Planet Earth sits at the centre of an orbiting scrapyard. But this is no static pile; it’s a cloud of junk moving at speeds of up to 18,000 mph. ISS crews live and work in this shooting gallery. What can be done? First, let’s talk orbital mechanics.
5 months ago
A number of my recent posts have covered aspects of robot sensor interfacing. Now I’ll look at a simple program that uses a sensor to help a robot move around without bumping into things, and another to steer it towards the light.
6 months ago
Since the 1950s, the application of Artificial Intelligence theory to real-world problem solving has proceeded as a series of bursts of rapid advance and optimism with ‘winters’ of gloom and disillusionment in between. Where are we in the cycle now?
7 months ago
The JAXA spacecraft Hayabusa-2 has just sent back to Earth about 100mg of material taken from the asteroid Ryugu. More robotic explorers are scheduled to send back bits of comets, asteroids and planets in the future.