Submitted by fabio on Fri, 2012-01-27 17:05.
On Wednesday I've been invited to visit Kitegen. What's that? Well, it's an EU founded research project aimed to produce energy from high altitude winds by means of a kite based system. A good introduction to the project in English is given in this article while Italians can watch this SuperQuark episode (SuperQuark is an Italian television program about science).
Why would I be invited to visit them? Well, I didn't had a clue until I got there...
It turns out that they may be the most advanced users of my FreeIMU as well as probably one of the biggest viacopter.eu clients (viacopter.eu is the official reseller of FreeIMU).
They are using FreeIMU as their base IMU during various steps of the prototyping of the automated system used to control the kite. Basically, the idea is to put various FreeIMU on the Kite as well as many different other sensors to precisely estimate the kite orientation in order to automatically control it.
I've seen a demo of some of their controlling software, wow.. tough stuff! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to make a video of the software.. that's a pity.
But, I do have a picture of one of a prototype of their controller boards! (Thanks Ivan for the picture!). Can you see FreeIMU???
I know there has been some criticism around this project. Personally, having seen the progress the guys have done, I think it is doable and they are actually not that far from success. Will it change the way we all think about energy? I surely hope so.
Good luck to Massimo and his crew.. I'll surely be around again there.. too cool to miss any of it ;-)
Meanwhile, have a look at some pictures..
This is the Kitegen Steam, as of 2 days ago, during a calibration of the PID for the ropes controlling.
In the facilities of the company some "spare parts" for the next KiteGen Stem:
The ropes reels with integrated motors for controlling speed as well as lateral offsets motors.
This is the new full carbon Steam.. whoa that's expensive!
They call this "the hand" and it is used to automatically open the kite during the take off procedure.. nice piece of custom mechanical design.