I was just wondering if anybody thought that it would be advantageous to have an intermediary mcu connected to an ir rangefinder.
i'm using this approach with my current bot. each task has a separate microcontroller. the advantage is you don't have to worry about changing the code on your whole bot when you want to make a change to one module as long as you keep the way you interface the module the same.
as Admin suggests, if you include a servo in the module for scanning you could have it continuously scan it's surroundings so there is always a map ready for download.
however there is definitely a need for a ~$100-$300 SICK laser
i'll be posting an update on the progress of my laser ranging method over the next few days.
(see my post in this thread: http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=2220.0
i'm currently able to draw fairly accurate maps of my bot's surroundings.
i'm not saying it's as effortless as SICK but it's within the $100-$300 budget.
it also has the advantage of being able to tell you what colour the detected objects are (as well as the ground between the bot and the object) which is useful for localisation as well as drawing maps with accurate colour information.