Nomadness

Hi folks...

This is my first post here, and I'm new to the Arduino scene... although not to embedded development. In the '70s I designed custom industrial control systems and wrote a textbook about it, then in 1983 fled suburbia and pedaled 17,000 miles around the US on a computerized recumbent bicycle that eventually sported a handlebar chord keyboard, heads-up display, ultrasonic head mouse, ham radio, audio crossbar, and lots of other gizmology. (The bike was named BEHEMOTH - Big, Electronic, Human-Energized Machine... Only Too Heavy)

That led to a decade on the Microship project, with a multidrop network of FORTH nodes scattered around an amphibian pedal/solar/sail micro-trimaran... now idle and looking for a budding technomad, since I'm making the move to a 44-foot steel sailboat named Nomadness. Must be an age thing.

All these projects are visible at the Microship website (just discovered I can't do a live link on my first post, which is a sensible rule).

The reason I'm posting here, of course, is that I've made the move to Arduino (and love it). The boat has about 15 nodes communicating with an always-on Mac Mini reachable via EVDO and other pipes, providing a ship's server, data collection and archiving, extensive security/watch capability, integration with NMEA2000 instruments, and so on. Some of the Arduinos take care of simple supervisory data collection and monitoring, like the "Sewage node" currently flickering to life in the lab; others provide infrastructure services like audio/video crossbar switching and remote queries via handheld ham radio.

I'm blogging development at the Nomadness website, and find myself peeking in here frequently for solutions. I'm impressed... this was done right, and I'm glad I didn't get too far down the path with other recent embedded platforms before discovering Arduino.

Anyway, I just wanted to say hello... I'm sure I'll be popping in with tech questions as I get deeper into the project.

Cheers from Camano Island, Washington Steve

Thanks for stopping by, Steve. I've followed your projects for a while, I remember reading the article in an old Popular Science (your article was in 1984, someone gave me a stack of magazines and I probably read it in 1989). Reading about the BEHEMOTH was definitely part of the reason I developed an interest in electronics and other technical subjects.

The Arduino community is great, and I have no doubt that you'll be able to get on your feet quickly due to your previous experience. See you around!

Hi Steve I remember talking with you down at a Kinetic Sculpture race in Eureka then again in Eugene Or. at a bike shop where I built recumbent bikes back in the '80s. you had made a keyboard with 9 or 16 keys attached to your handle bars and were writing about your adventures . It still boggles the mind. I am glad to hear you are still at it, you were way ahead of the curve a couple of decades ago .

Thanks for the welcome!

Macegr - I'm honored to have added a bit of inspiration; thank you for saying so! Life on the bike was deliciously intense, blending geek obsessions and pure adventure. The combo was addicting, and after too long away from embedded micros, it feels good to be getting into a similarly over-the-top project (though nowhere near as athletic as the bike, of course... creak).

Tomc - Ah, the KSR... what a hoot! Many fond memories associated with that. And I remember visiting a builder in Eugene... what a long road recumbents were on. Ol' BEHEMOTH is now in the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.

Again, I appreciate the welcome, guys. I'm also really enjoying the Arduino learning curve... being a noob isn't even too painful with these, which is saying a lot. Compliments to the community.

Oh, since this is my second post, I can add a link... my front door is at http://microship.com and nautical Arduino bloggage is at http://www.nomadness.com/blog

Cheers! Steve

Heh, cool. I started reading your first post and began to think, "Hey, that sounds a bit like...oh, it is!". :-) Interesting to see who Arduino is attracting. :D

I too remember reading about your various activities over the years.

--Phil.

Thanks, Phil - and also for your comment on the Nomadness blog! The best thing about Arduino, I think, is the wildly creative and diverse community… very much in the spirit of what I like to call “gonzo engineering.” I have a little rhapsody on that topic over here (especially the first 5 paragraphs):

http://microship.com/resources/gonzo-engineering.html

This is fun; good to be here.

Cheers,
Steve

Hi... thought I'd post an update regarding the Shipnet for Nomadness. I just did a blog post with a couple of drawings that might be of interest here... the permalink is:

http://nomadness.com/blog/2009/03/shipnet-architecture.html

I'm just now working on the configuration manager, son of my old audio/video/serial crossbar networks (based on Mitel 8816 chips); the new approach is a big uncommitted string of latching relays driven by 595 shift registers. Pieces of this get to be mini crossbars, multiplexers, steering switches for radio controls, etc...

More soon... and thanks for being here! What a great resource...

Cheers, Steve

I will honestly say I got incredibly excited when I read that you had joined the 'duino community. I had the same aha moment as Phil. While I had yet to be born in time to read the PopSci mags in the 80's :D, I did read the Sparkfun piece about your life and work and it was truly inspiring. Anyway, I could go on geeking for a while so I'll keep it short: Good luck with your ship and Welcome to the Arduino Community! Can't wait to hear more from you.