During Kickstarter campaign(and even before that, during internal alpha testing) one of the most asked for features was a remote control app for MARK with video streaming. Our team already has tested the remote control and video streaming capabilities of the cyberEye board a while ago, so the only thing lacking was a frontend – i.e. the mobile application.
Two weeks into Kickstarter campaign we were contacted by Code&Robots app developer, Chico Charlesworth.
We were delighted to hear that he was interested in adding support for MARK into his mobile app for robot control. And today, after weeks of development and rigorous testing, we proudly present 5013 firmware update for MARK, which includes Remote Control Mode!
Download the application for Android phones here or use this link to download the application for iOS phones. Upgrade your MARK firmware to 5013. After first boot is successful, the remote control mode can be activated by pressing BOOT button 3 or more times after powering on.
Timing is important – there is 2 second delay during which MARK is checking if BOOT button is pressed. After 2 seconds the execution of user uploaded code begins and you need to reset MARK to try entering remote control mode.
After you successfully entered remote control mode, open Code&Robots app, choose MARK, fill in your WiFi credentials and a QR code will appear on your phone’s screen.
Scan the QR code with MARK camera and the robot will connect to the same WiFi network as your phone and start the data transmission. You can press Done button in the app and choose Play & Explore option in the menu to start teleoperation.
The joystick on the right is for motor control, the joystick on the left controls pan-tilt camera platform. Now go scouting with your brand new land drone!
Remember that MARK is connected to your WiFi router and not your phone directly! It means that the signal strength depends on the distance and obstacles between MARK and WiFi router and NOT the distance between MARK and phone. If you venture too far from WiFi router you might experience temporary loss of signal – in that case bring MARK closer to the router. If your home WiFi network is properly setup you can sit comfortably on a couch on the first floor and have MARK exploring other rooms, second floor and possibly even backyard!
What if you don’t have WiFi to connect to? For example outdoors? No worries, your phone can act as WiFi hot spot – open the WiFi hotspot on your phone, fill in its credentials in the app and start the teleportation. Currently this (connecting to phone’s hotspot WiFi) has only been tested with Android phones. The obvious downside of direct connection between MARK and your phone is that the antenna of your phone is not as good as of WiFi router – so the signal will be weaker and this the teleoperation distance will be shorter.
Other changes in 5013 include:
- fixed bug causing detections not being overwritten by new detections
- fixed bug in model calibration pre-processing, accuracy of pre-trained models have increased
- fixed bug with size of bounding boxes for color tracking object doubled
- upgraded firmware to commit 92d9c046bb80f50a2815ec9baecd002edb61b49f (MaixPy repository commit hash)
Try out the new firmware and tell us what you think!