Hello all, I am a huge robot fanatic, but since I am still in school I have rarely been in a position where I could do something in robotics, so when I found I had to write a 4000 word essay on any topic of my choice I jumped at the occasion to do some robotics stuff.
Unfortunately it has to be very simple robotics, so I have decided I would simply write it on the idea of a "Robotic Navigation Module", now this is a weird idea I know but it is all I could get through the administration.
Now, what I mean by "Robotic Navigation Module" is basically a part for a robot which will simply be hooked up to a robot and will navigate (in a home environment). So, for example, if you were to start a new home robotics project, say, bringing a beer to the couch, what you would do is design and build something that can locate the couch, locate the fridge, pick up and drop beers safely and then go to the store and buy this "Robotic Navigation Module". Which you would hook up to your already built robot and it would do all the navigation, and have the wheels, some method to sense the environment and travel between two points chosen by your part of the robot.
The explanation I provided in the essay is as follows:
"Humans find navigating from point A to B rather easy. This is because; unknown to us, our subconscious undertakes massive calculations to achieve this seemingly easy goal."
"It is difficult with current technology to duplicate this seemingly simple skill in a robot."
"Add to this the fact that each designer of a mobile robot has to solve these navigation problems themselves, every time before they get to design the mobile robot. In designing the navigation system, the designer has to decide what sensors they will use to navigate, what circuitry they will use for navigation, what programming will be used to navigate, which drive train to use and so on (and this is all before they can approach the problem they are hoping to solve). This takes up time that would otherwise be spent on the goal of the project."
"For example, if one were to develop a mobile robotic system to deliver food to a client at a restaurant, the designer would have to solve several problems , for example locating the table for the delivery, carrying the food, locating which individual is to receive the food, avoiding obstacles in the robot’s way and picking up and placing the food."
"A number of these problems are simply navigation issues, which would be solved if the designer could simply buy a pre-designed basic robot navigation system that could be incorporated simply, or easily adapted, for the new robotic platform."
"Taking computing as an example, a base computer design is already there - someone designing a new computer only has to work up from the previous versions."
"The Research Question for this Extended Essay is therefore “How useful and simple is a “navigation module” to design and prototype for new robotic platforms in a home environment?” "
"There are many different locations throughout which robots might need to navigate (such as home environments and urban environments) many different modes of transport which robots use (such as wheels or helicopter flight) and many different methods by which robots might sense their environment (such as infra-red detectors or doppler sensors). To allow effective design of a base Navigation Module, the design will be developed specifically for a navigation robot that will be wheeled, be used in a home environment and use a single microcontroller (thereby greatly reducing the number of sensor options available to the robot)."
"As with most robotics projects, the Navigation Module would be a synthesis of physical parts (such as wheels) and software and hardware to control the physical parts. Some robotics projects are more the design and creation of the physical parts, some are more about the controlling soft/hard ware and some are mostly about the selection and integration of the physical and controlling soft/hard ware. This project includes all three elements but will require most input into the integration as most physical parts already exist and the soft/hard ware must by the criteria of this assignment be relatively simple."
For the research of my essay I need to talk to experts of this field, so I decided the best way I could do that is to ask all of you for your opinion on this idea of mine. All you need to do is give your opinion, it can be as long or as short as you like. This would help me a lot, and if any of you wish to see my essay or anything of the sort please do ask, although it is not very technical as it has to be written for people who would have no idea about robotics.
Thank you in advance