How to assemble a PCB easy

If you have ever had experience in hand soldering a printed circuit board with surface mount components, you would know how tricky it is to place the right component at right place. One cannot take forever to place the components as the solder paste is drying up too. I remember the first time I tried to hand solder one of the first PSLab prototypes, I printed an enlarged version of the front silk screen and used color pencils to group different resistors and capacitors. So that I will not mess it up. Getting back to the real topic, I used KiCAD to design PSLab circuits. KiCAD is open source and it has a Python interface (libraries ...). So there are many open source projects doing cool stuff with KiCAD PCBs and I found the one I was eagerly looking for months. Interactive HTML BoM InteractiveHtmlBom  is an open source library we can just download and run out of the box. Keep in mind that, it would need the necessary KiCAD python stuff installed already. What this library does is, it re

Mocking Point Clouds in ROS Rviz

Robot Operating System (ROS) is a powerful tool we can use with robot simulations. Simulating a point cloud is one of the things I'm interested in and this blog post is a type of a note to self . Before we start, there are few things we need to get the simulation done. Ingredients 1. ROS : we need to have ROS installed in my computer. It's pretty straightforward and one can refer the official documentation on installation steps. Make sure ROS is installed and working without any errors by running the following command in a terminal; $ roscore 2. Rviz : rviz is a part of ROS. Make sure it's available and running, by running the following command in a terminal window; $ rosrun rviz rviz You should get a graphical interface looks like the following window Figure 1. Rviz window

Crazyflie 2.0 Custom Obstacle Avoidance Deck with 13 VL53L1X ToF Sensors

Crazyflie 2.0 is a lightweight micro aerial vehicle. This open source platform comes with a variety of decks to support multiple implementations. One of them is a Obstacle Avoidance Deck by the original manufacturer itself. This deck supports five Time of Flight (ToF) sensors mounted as shown in figure below. Our project is requires sensor readings captured using these ToF sensors. Effectiveness and accuracy of our algorithms require more data points than points provided by just five sensors. There are no other hardware platforms available in the Internet supporting more ToF sensors and the alternative we had was to develop one on our own. Researching into existing hardware platform, we were able to extend the design to build a custom deck that supports 13 ToF sensors mounted facing different angles. The schematics and bill of materials can be found from this repository hosted online: Designing the hardware