Expelliarose follow-up (and Parrot Awards!)

Despite the end of ROSE, we’ve been working hard on the Expelliarose project the past 2 months. We knew we were close to a really nice product and we didn’t want our work to end on a mitigated result (those who attended the presentation or watched the demo know we had a few remaining bugs).

Therefore, we put a lot of work on solving the issues we identified:

  • IR protocol malfunctioned in some cases: the reception is now more robust (up to 5 meters, which could be improved with a higher power LED),
  • Some gestures were too close to be distinguished: we redesigned most of the gestures and crafted an extensive database with different people to account for the multiple ways to grasp the wand,
  • Some thresholds had to be adjusted: the DTW algorithm yields quite noisy results (well, our implementation does) that must be processed to be relevant. We are now able to accurately detect any of our 10 gestures while the “null gesture” (ie. an unknown movement) is identified most of the times (but occasionally gives a mismatch, still work to do on that one),
  • The Android application crashed from times to times: we broadly tested many scenarios to track and fix those bugs, and improved the UI to give the user more output about the ongoing battle,
  • The wand was quite large and looked massive: we completely redesigned it to make it look more appealing. We got rid of the screw thread, we changed all the board connectors to much smaller ones, we switched to slimmer (but lower-capacity) batteries so that the PCB became the only limiting factor, we changed the wand’s head to simplify its assembly, and we added some tasteful decoration (at least we believe so),
  • “Expelliarose” was incomprehensible to pretty much everyone but the ROSE crew: we decided to adopt the name Incanto, that sounds like a spell and evokes incantations, therefore magic.

We presented this refreshed wand to the Parrot Awards jury last week.
We attended the award ceremony yesterday, and we are super proud and happy to announce that we received the first prize of the competition!

Therefore, amazing news: Incanto will go to the CES 2016 in Las Vegas with the Parrot delegation!

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on the wand to make it even slimmer and prepare, hopefully, a crowd-funding campaign. Will you join the wizardness? Follow us on Twitter to get updates (yet, we might take a summer break first…).

We thank Parrot, Sam & Alexis for their trust and their help. To be continued!

Sunday, day of the lord Voldemort

This pun is way too easy and I am already wasting it, not even a week after we started to work on Expelliarose… Hopefully you’ll forget that and we’ll be able to use it again later.

Today, we worked on our PCB, getting some inspiration from the LEDZep project and mostly from obscure datasheets. The BLE module, IMU, power modules, IR emitters/receiver, are all set, but we still need to route some pins from the STM32-F427, and wait for a few components to be added in Expedition PCB.

Speaking of components, we now have picked them all, completing our first two PSSC. We decided to go with an other IR receiver, high power LED, and touch controller, following Alexis’s advices. We’ll be using the remaining LEDs of the StabiloRose project, slightly more dense than the ones we were supposed to use, yet their protocol seems equally dirty. We’ll also have to make sure we’re not turning them on all at the same time to be gentle with our battery 🙂

Our workflow is getting better and we’re learning the hard way how to make sense of huge specifications. Since we’re going to make an expansive circuit board, we’re reading them over and over again to make sure we’re not going to miss the ideal pin for our usage. We don’t have much of a method to make routing choices, but that’s how we build experience!
We are also computing capacitors and adding all the fuzzy details around our main components, and we are definitely feeling like doing some voodoo. At least this is in the theme.

We’ll finish that tomorrow if the owls of the circuit boards lead us in the right path!

back to business

We now have a new name for sorcery : expeliarose ! Hoping that everyone’s got the reference…

We are facing a lot of different problems : how to aim other sorcerers with you stick ? Propably using IR, but we will have to insert it in a nice way on our device. Moreover the conception of sitck will certainly be made with robotic’s 3D printer (thanks guys!), but nobody in our group made 3D conception (except a few solidworks a looong time ago). Well we already have filled trello boxes to acheive the right definition of our project for friday.

I also fought for long hours with archlinux and f*cking UEFI boot to now have a good work environment. Using Anatole advice, I used I3 as tile manager and it seems to be a good deal.

Also began STM32 project, it is on his way…

See you