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October 5, 2011 AT 4:27 pm

Coming soon! Adafruit Motorshield on TV :) “How Hard Can It Be?” and it’s on the National Geographic Channel

Coming soon! Adafruit Motorshield on TV 🙂 “How Hard Can It Be?” and it’s on the National Geographic Channel…. Vince writes in!

Some of you may know me from my projects in Popular Science magazine, or the videos that I make for Tango Echo, but recently I got the chance to do something even more fun. I hosted a three part special on National Geographic Channel in which we did our DIY best at some big engineering challenges – Flying a house with balloons, exploring the deep ocean with a DIY remotely operated vehicle, and flying a home made rocket to over 50,000 ft.

It has the potential to be a great show for the Maker community. We, the hosts, are actually doing all of the work on these projects and you’re watching our successes and failures as they happen. There’s also enough fun and TV magic thrown in to (hopefully) save it from being incredibly boring. We’re pulling for this to get picked up for a season – if you watch it and like it, please let them know at [email protected]

The balloon house, which was intended to recreate the animated film Up, was an unexpected sensation around the world, even getting the lead off story on Good Morning America the day after we flew.

The ROV wasn’t as successful a project, but it was at least a nail biter until the bitter end. I was soldering in the parking lot until literally the last second and I did my best to break up the tension on the boat by vomiting over the side, constantly.

The rocket was just flat out, full power, AWESOME. As my co-host Gocke put it, imagine a telephone pole taking off – calculations show that it was doing Mach 1 by the time it had eclipsed it’s own length. We had to get approval from the FAA and all branches of the military to even attempt this.

This video is just one of the test rockets we built on the way to the big one.

On the ROV episode, I used a number of parts from Adafruit. I controlled the relays that drove the trolling motors with the motor shield and I used two Arduinos – one down on the sub and one on the boat in a control box – that communicated via a serial connection over about 2 miles of fiber optic cable. You’ll actually see some of those parts being assembled in my Hawaiian hotel room on the show tonight – 7pm EST / PST on the National Geographic Channel.

The first two episodes have already premiered, but there will be encore presentations:

Up House – Wed October 12 at 7pm ET/PT
Homemade Rocket – Wed October 19 at 7pm ET/PT
DIY Robo-Sub – Wed October 26 at 7pm ET/PT


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2 Comments

  1. Awesome! I’ll definitely be watching these!!

  2. Very cool!

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