buildscc | 03 Feb 2011 | | projects


The purpose of this project is to create a toy, possibly-remote controlled car that will hover and fly through the air, and will have sensors mounted that will enable it to avoid walls and change trajectory.


The actual hovercar will be about 1.5 - 2 feet in length/width and will consist of the propulsion mechanism, the sensors, and the controls. For propulsion, we will probably use a quad copter setup, as it gives us the most stability and movement capability. In order to make it hover, we can make it keep a constant altitude, and then it will move by throttling the individual propellers. The sensors will be placed to allow the hovercar to understand how close it is to walls/obstructions, and be able to avoid them. Our final goal is to create something that can move around on its own without crashing. We will also want to be able to control its movement, with a controller, or a computer.

More stuff

If we manage to get all that to work an advanced feature would be to give the hovercar the capability to control its altitude, so it would sense how far it is away from the ground, and adjust output to get to a specified height. An add-on with that would be to give it the capability to remember the terrain under it, and so be able to change its motors automatically.


Our current meeting time is 8PM on Wed.

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Meeting Minutes for 2011-02-02


Kyle Brogle

  • It’s pretty cold out, so Lincoln Lab reps will be coming next week.
  • REMEMBER, the microsoft hackathon is NEXT weekend.
  • Kit, Robbie, George, Colin, et al are starting a new project: theyre writing an IRC server from scratch in C++

Valerie Young

  • Musical Stairs
    • Still blocking on software progress on John’s end
    • If you’re involved keep checking your email for future meetings

Kyle Brogle

  • LED Cube
    • 1000 LEDS have been ordered, and building will begin when they’re shipped.
    • If you’re interested, contact Kyle

Mikhail Andreev

  • Hoverbot
    • Meeting at 8pm today


  • If you’re having your first project meeting, don’t feel bad about emailing the BUILDS List

Chris Woodall

  • Diaspora Server
    • Open source social networking software
    • LOTS of security vunerabilities, so we want to run our own and FIND said vunerabilities and help with patches
    • Great to work on those security skills

Brian Hepler

  • Abstract Algebra lectures
  • Email hepler.brian@gmail.com if you’re interested. A doodle will be created

Monica Gribouski

  • Multitouch table
    • Meetings will be thursdays at 8:30pm

David House

  • Twitter Snitch (info warfare on Twitter/ the internet)

Meeting 6:52pm



What is Derpnet?

Derpnet is intended to create a free and open source, secure, private method of communication. As communication is our primary goal, we will implement an IRC setup and increase security and privacy from there.

As our goals are different than those of a standard IRC setup, so too will our implementation differ in a few important ways. These include:

  • encouraging the use of proxies and Tor (with the exception of Freenode, most networks today block such activity); the server will have a .onion address
  • increased use of SSL and OTR security, in places like private messaging
  • non-standard NickServ implementation, requiring all users who wish to join channels or message others be registered (as a derivative, we will be establishing an extremely secure mail server as well), as well as reserving “blocks” of nicks rather than a single nick

Other aspects of the traditional IRC will be implemented normally (for example, the channel-oriented setup, etc.). To accompany the IRC setup, Derpnet will also maintain a webpage (full of things like what it is, how to register, etc.) in the OpenNIC space (and possibly also in the normal webspace).

Why Derpnet?

The Derpnet project exists to fill the vacuum of secure, open source group communication. Currently the only such implementation is face-to-face conversation and while the release policy on that source may be debated the point is that it is rather inconvenient. The IRC protocol is an existing framework that allows for a variety of clients already implemented to be used with no additional modification.

Why C++?

C++ is a compiled language (which allows for fast execution) without being interpreted (I am looking at you right now, Java). In addition, its similarity to C allows it to be approachable by many programmers (unlike the other languages we wanted to use, Haskell and ATS).

Why git?

Due to our association with BUILDS, we are able to make use of BUILDS hosting. This requires us to use git, which although some view as more difficult to use, is functional and adequate for our current needs. Currently commits are restricted to project members. Our git repository is publicly accessible at https://github.com/BUILDS-/Derpnet for those interested in following along.

Who are we looking for?

  • programmers who are willing to write code to be released under an open source license (probably GPL or similar)
  • anyone who makes frequent use of IRC or is willing to do so to test
  • anyone else who is willing to help in whatever way they can

Who are we?

The leader of this project is currently Robbie Harwood, who can be reached at rharwood at bu dot edu. Additionally, until our own server is operational, we will occupy channel #derpnet on foonetic.