Documenting the new Lighthouse Functionality

A few weeks ago we released version 2021-03 including the python library, Cfclient and the firmware. The biggest feature of that release was that we (finally) got the lighthouse positioning system out of early access and added it as an official product to the Crazyflie eco system! Of course we are very excited about that milestone, but the work does not end there… We also need to communicate how to use it, features and where to find all this new information to you – our favourite users!

New Landing Page

First of all, we made a new landing page for only the lighthouse system (similar to bitcraze.io/start) we now also have bitcraze.io/lighthouse. This landing page is what will be printed on the Lighthouse base station box that will be available soon in our store, but is also directly accessible from the front page under ‘Product News’.

This landing page has all kinds of handy links which directs the user to the getting started tutorial, the shop page or to its place within the different positioning systems we offer/support. It is meant to give a very generic first overview of the system without being overloaded right off the bat and we hope that the information funnel will be more smooth with this landing page.

New tutorial and product pages

For getting started with the lighthouse positioning system, we heavily advise everybody to follow the new getting started tutorial page, even if you have used the lighthouse system since it’s early access days. The thing is is that the procedure of setting the system up has changed drastically. The calibration data and geometry are now stored in persistent memory on-board the Crazyflie and the lighthouse deck itself is now properly flashed. So if you are still using custom config.mk, hardcode geometry in the app layer or use get_bs_geometry.py to get the geometry… stop what you are doing and update the crazyflie firmware, install the newest Cfclient, and follow the tutorial!

We also already made some product page for the Lighthouse Swarm bundle. Currently it is still noted as coming soon but you can already sign up to get a notification when it is out, which we hope to have ready in about 1-2 month(s). The lighthouse deck was of course already available for those that can not wait and want to buy a SteamVR base station somewhere else. Just keep in mind that, even though the v1 is supported, in the future we will mostly focus on the version 2 of the base stations.

Video tutorial

Once again we have ventured into the land of videos and recorded a “Getting started with the Lighthouse positioning system” tutorial for those who prefer video over text.

Feedback

We love feedback and want to improve! Please don’t hesitate to contact us on contact@bitcraze.io if you have comments or suggestions!

2 comments on “Documenting the new Lighthouse Functionality

  • Beautiful work as always! What is the current maximum estimated distance range for the base stations to communicate with the Crazyflie? If they are mounted on an overhead position that moves slightly (let’s say there is a draft or some breeze overhead), what amount of movement tolerance is there before the calibration will fail and need to be reset?

    • Thanks!
      The base stations reach around 6 meters.
      I have not really tested how much movement that can be handled but I would guess that a few cm at the Crazyflie side is OK in most cases. There is a motion sensor in the base stations that turn them off when they move too much, but I don’t think some gentle swaying will trigger it.
      The Crazyflie will basically average the result from the base station(s) it sees and if they provide different positions the estimated position will end up in-between. The problem will be when one of the base stations becomes occluded as the estimated position suddenly will “jump” to the position provided by the remaining base station. The PID controller will probably handle this fairly gracefully while the Mellinger might not.

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