I was convinced by a co-worker while on a busness trip to purchase the Apple Magic Trackpad. I had the idea of using its multi-touch functionality for controlling my carputer with it. So far it is exceeding my expectations.
I’ve already got app switching working with just the swipe of my hand, and I have a 5 finger touch bring up the on screen keyboard. For now it is doing what I expected. The more I play with it, the more ideas I get on what I can do with it. It was a little rough getting started as I needed a fairly recent kernel so I upgraded to Ubuntu Natty 11.04. This caused some issues as my preferred window manager is icewm and natty runs gnome bu default. I had an issue with Natty not saving my default session and that hung me up for a few hours. It turned out to be a permissioning issue on one of the files. I was also experimenting with some other music players and decided there was still nothing out there that worked the way I wanted so I decided to keep my own. this led to another issue. The program I wrote tends to not pass through key presses so when I get to that app the key presses simulated by the magic pad just get absorbed and not sent to the window manager. This is a bug in my code, and I’m going to tackle it next. After that bug is squashed I’m going to move on to controlling the audio volume using the rotate controls sent from the magic pad. I’m not sure what else I’m going to use it for, but as I play with integrating it into the system I have no doubt I will find more useful things for it to do. The Apple magic touchpad seems to have a lot of potential.
First test was pretty good. We found that the front wheels might need to be downsized since they rub against the front wheel openings. I will probably go with 6″ to replace the 8″. Also, the front wheels have tubes and were practically flat. I’m going to get sold tires. I don’t know if you could tell in the video, but my lawn isn’t exactly flat and the fact we could move at all on the law bodes well. We expect we we will be driving mostly on pavement or floors, but it is nice to know we can go across the lawn if needed.
We had stopped working on the Dalek after I crushed my toe. Well the toe is long healed. We stopped at the point where we were trying to figure out out to mount the base to the frame. Well, I got the right side almost mounted. I need a longer bolt but it shouldn’t be too much more work to get it finished.
Here is a picture looking down on the power chair through a hole I cut in the top of the skirt.
I’ve taken two pictures of my 2005 NSD Dalek build. The first pcture shows the x-factor twist that goes in to the Dalek front panels. I think this x factor twist makes a Dalek look like a Dalek. The second picture is the rear section of the Dalek skirt. Notice there are large gaps between panels. This is probably due to not accounting for the thickness of the panels. I’m not too worried about it, I plan on fiberglassing the joints anyway. I’ll fiberglass from the inside and then use some wood filler on the outside to fix all the gaps.
I filled the corners with bondo and did my first pass at sanding. It is getting closer to looking like a skirt. Also, you may notice some wood on the top of the skirt toward the front and two blocks on either side. This is because the bottom of the base for some reason lifted up and the top isn’t level. These blocks are to make the next layer start from a level position. I’m probably going to put some sort of filler between the skirt and shoulders. the front came out okay so I should be able to salvage this skirt.
My brother came over and we went over the motors. It turns out that the right wheels motor isn’t quite right. It works, but it doesn’t sound healthy. I’m debating taking it apart and seeing if it can be repaired, but I expect either a bearing or some other mechanical part (gear or whatever) might be the problem. If thats the case then it won’t be worth trying to fix and we will have to live with it. This chair is so old they don’t even make parts for it. I’m sure if I looked hard enough I could find one but it isn’t worth the effort.
And the good news. The wheel chair is mobile. Some to-dos are to make or buy a 24v charger for the batteries so I don’t have to charge them individually. I also need to get some sort of meter in there so I can know how charged the batteries are.
The wheels came in today. It was a real pain getting them on. The insert was difficult to get in the tire and then getting the tire seated properly to the rim was very difficult for me. Batteries are due in tomorrow. I’m nervous to see if the controls work on this chair. I’m hoping It will be mobile tomorrow. If not I’m going to be very sad. I have a feeling it isn’t going to work.