Project Helicam

Helicam Sketches

Helicam is an AltLab project that emerged from the wish to capture images from the sky with a WiFi enabled camera so that one can see what’s being shot from a different perspective and in real-time. This approach may lead to new paradigms in visual perspectives by enabling shooting from air views at a considerably low cost and also so close that cannot be easily done from a helicopter.

As a real example, one of the projects to accomplish with Helicam is for testing for local forests surveillance and use in related research projects, as with forest fire prevention for sustainability. Other possible operation fields can be architecture, building surveillance or even artistic performance environments where multimedia has a strong presence.

The main idea is to build an inexpensive and flexible platform using – as a starting point – specifications made available by several open source projects available online (like Mikrokopter or UAVP-NG). After doing some initial research and costs evaluation we realized that we cannot make this prototype with the resources currently available within the group members or AltLab and therefore we started to seek for some kind of sponsorship. I have to say that we were lucky since with only two contacts made, we were able to fundraise money in order to build a flying prototype according to our initial costs predictions. Thank you Mobbit for accepting our proposal!!

If you wanna join us in this project stop by AltLab in one of our regular Tuesday night meetings.

Make your own game-pad!

…Don’t let others tell you how many buttons you can press at once, these are times of freedom 🙂

This is a homemade game-pad with just one accelerometer (a breakout board from Sparkfun) and one push-button.

custom game-pad with accelerometer and push-button connected to arduino

Using a simple, custom protocol and a C# listener we could play Acceleroids, an Asteroids lost sibling on Steroids, which uses the accelerometer to control the ship and the button to shoot.

next steps will be to turn this into a generic game-pad by simulating keyboard key presses for any sensor you throw at the Arduino, allowing you to create truly funky pads to control your favourite game. Stay tuned! 😉

Edit: We were alerted by friendly comments that this project resembles another project/tutorial that can be found here:,902.0.html

PAPERduino’s design

This is a fully functional version of the Arduino. We eliminated the PCB and use paper and cardboard as support and the result is.. the PAPERduino 😀

This is the the first version of the layout design, next we will try more designs, and other materials. You just need to print the top and the bottom layouts, and glue them to any kind of support you want. We hope that you start making your own boards. If you do, please share your photos with us, we would love to see them 😉

There is no USB direct connection, so to program the paperduino you will need some kind of FTDI cable or adapter. One of this products will be fine:
FTDI cable from Adafruit Industries
FTDI adapter from Sparkfun

Download PDF

Components list:
1 x 7805 Voltage regulator
2 x LEDs (different colors)
2 x 560 Ohm resistors (between 220oHm and 1K)
1 x 10k Ohm resistor
2 x 100 uF capacitors
1x 16 MHz clock crystal
2 x 22 pF capacitors
1 x 0.01 uF capacitor
1 x button
1 x Atmel ATMega168
1 x socket 28 pin
Female and Male headers

Use a needle to puncture the holes for your components.

Don’t rush, place one component after another and do all the solder work carefully.

Follow the connection lines.

And this should be the final look of your paperduino connections.