Author Topic: Robot Features  (Read 4757 times)

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Offline Rand alThorTopic starter

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Robot Features
« on: June 24, 2008, 12:40:54 AM »
Hello. I am working on a program that enables one to keep track of one's electronic/robotic projects and ideas for projects. In the project editor, I want it to let the user pick several features in something like a checked list box or even an array of list boxes. I also want to have each feature to have an "ambitiousness" factor to it, like a feature like "Stays in one place" would add 1-2 ambition points because you have to make sure the base works, and a feature like "Photovore" would add 0.5-1 ambitiousness points. What I was wondering is if any of you guys could give me ideas as to features I could/Must include in the list? Ambitiousness ratings would help, let's say 1 ambitiousness point equals one hour of work, design, construction, whatever.

Oh, yes, one more thing... If you have an idea as to a feature, stick it out there. don't worry that it's not finished, i can finish it later.


Offline Asellith

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2008, 03:43:01 PM »
Thats not a bad idea. I have ideas run through my head all the time. Sometimes I have problems keeping them because I can get a really cool idea ( usually in the middle of a reply on SOR) but by the time I can record the idea its gone :) I have a PDA that I use to keep those ideas in check. I basically have various brainstorming word documents that are a collection of my ideas.

As far as features:

vision
stereo vision
object avoidance IR or Ultrasonics or Laser
wireless communication
USB
RS-232
Servo control

Actually just look here :
http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=ddgqp9wc_0gpbcwmgm&hl=en

Thats a good list to start with for features for a robot
Jonathan Bowen
CorSec Engineering
www.corseceng.com

Offline pomprocker

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2008, 04:26:02 PM »
i say don't re-invent the wheel, spend less time writing programs that are already out there, and more time building robots !!


look into "free groupware" or something like that. My last job we used "phpprojekt" here we are using "dotproject"


Offline airman00

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2008, 05:00:26 PM »
I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!!


This is an easy way to record projects I want to do and then when I get some free time I look back and depending on how hard the project is ( that is the calculated ambition rating) and how much of a challenge I want , I pick that project. Beautiful idea!!!

Sadly the only problem is that the amount of features a robot can have is in the hundreds. Nice idea and if you can capture all those features into a check list and maybe a text box where the user could record some notes on the project.

What programming language will you use? If you make it Visual Basic 6 or HTML then I could help you out and add in stuff.
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Offline Rand alThorTopic starter

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2008, 04:42:15 PM »
Quote
I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!!

*Bow, bow* Thank you, thank you. Thank you very much.

Thanks for the help so far.

I'm planning on doing my prototype in Microsoft Visual Basic Express 2008, and then Do the final product in either Visual C++ or Visual C# (My current favorite "grown up" languages featuring OOP, both pure and hybrid.) (These will also be Express Edition 2008.)

Quote
Sometimes I have problems keeping them because I can get a really cool idea ( usually in the middle of a reply on SOR) but by the time I can record the idea its gone

You should do what I do. I carry a notebook around with me so it's almost always in arms reach. Then I just write whenever I get an idea. don't try to organize it or anything: the chaos is the key. If you don't write it down immediately, you risk losing it forever. If you are in the middle of writing about something, just skip down a few lines or something. In my inspiration book, you'll find all sorts of seemingly unrelated topics, all intermeshed: Another theory as to how the dinosaurs died, ideas for new programs, ideas for electronic gadgets, etc.

Quote
Sadly the only problem is that the amount of features a robot can have is in the hundreds. Nice idea and if you can capture all those features into a check list and maybe a text box where the user could record some notes on the project.

Yeah, that's why I'm thinking about making like add-on patches, like "wireless communication feature pack" Or something. And maybe I'll make it so people can make their own features. But of course, that's why I "hired"you guys!  ;D


Offline airman00

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2008, 06:26:27 PM »
sounds cool but why would you need Visual C at all? Such a simple program ( checkboxes) can be created with Visual Basic only. You dont need to improve if it gets the job done.

Email me if you need any programming assistance.  My email is airman00 at gmail.com

Make the project open source so people can add their own stuff easily
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Offline Rand alThorTopic starter

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2008, 06:39:08 PM »
Well, it was meant to be a sort of a suite, with workbench designer, calculators, inventory manager, etc. I suppose I could make the program open source, but I was planning on making money on this. (And of course I was planning on giving copies to those who helped me here  8)). Seriously.

Offline airman00

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2008, 09:19:43 PM »
hmmm

You have to think how big a market you have for this kind of thing ..... Not that much , I would say maybe 500 people at most. Because how many robpotics hobbyists would pay for an extra program.

Its all up to you whether to charge for it or not , but I definitely want to help with this .
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Offline Asellith

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2008, 07:07:50 AM »
If you want to charge the best option would be to get a working program running with a lot of features that are unlocked and then some more advanced ones that will be where you spend the most of your time programming as a shareware style upgrade. Or just insert some ads into the design. Partner with someone like Sparkfun or one of the other robot parts suppliers. Then add a simple web ad in the corner of the program with a shareware option to remove it when registered. I for one would not pay for your program. No offense but spend 12 bucks on a program or another servo I need. I pick servo.
Jonathan Bowen
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Offline Rand alThorTopic starter

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2008, 12:26:39 PM »
I think I'll have a bigger market then that. Think of how many electrical engineers are out there. It has a workbench designer, approximations for component prices, advanced personalzation, and featuring the latest SI (Simulated Intelligence). By the way, do any of you have ideas for other features?

Offline Asellith

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2008, 12:41:12 PM »
Ok first your market is only hobby engineers. Real engineers used things like ORCAD. Which lets you simulate circuits and build PCBs then just prints you a BOM with all the parts listed. Not sure if it gives prices but they would be approximate values specially if it was a production model. Production would involve purchasing large quantities of components at a single time to save cash.

The workbench designer would be cool if you could put enough equipment into it. Importing dimensions for a large amount of equipment and being able to design a work surface and drop each part and move them around to allow you to configure the station to maximize workspace and efficiency would be nice. But again if I where working for a real engineering firm I would have access to Autocad and would simply draw them all in that. As a hobby engineer I would use Schetchup for that.

As far as features to be added is concerned just make it so the user can input anything they want and assign it values. I'm assuming everything has as you mentioned an ambition part. But from the rest of your posts it seems your adding a required equipment and parts section to each feature. But just build a dialog box to let the user create their own.

Personal note: I am a "Real" engineer but I don't get the pleasure of working for a "Real" engineering firm. I'm a radio engineer so even I don't get to play with cool programs that cost lots of money. Or get cool equipment. I think my o-scope is older then I am. (I steal the other technicians new one a lot) I do some circuit design work for the college that host the radio station but even that will go away as I am being trained to become the chief engineer for the station and will have no time for that when that happens.
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Offline airman00

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2008, 10:38:07 PM »
its a nice litte tool you thought of Rand alThor but  Asellith is right real engineers would not pay for this .

The workbench designer is an amazing idea , but sadly Google Sketchup can do that same thing for free. The other features also would not be used by real engineers since they do not work with approximations. They design the board and simulate them on those thousands of dollars worth of programs and then they write up a report along with costs and send it to their supervisor.

Hobbyists on the other hand use these relatively cheap ( or free programs) to do their work. I myself use sketchup for everything and TinyCAD for circuit design. If you were to sell this program for a few bucks ( maybe 10 at most or 15) , then people might buy it. I can see almost every hobbyist wanting this program , but sadly only a very small fraction of these hobbyists would actually buy such a program

A twist to this idea of making money  is to offer this program for free on a website that you own. You can get a free website from almost anywhere online. Make sure that your website is the only place to download the program. The website would be just a download link  and the rest of the page would be filled and filled with Google Ads or perhaps ads from other places. The program itself could also have ads all over the place , which would make you some $$$. This approach gets you some money and also gets your reputation in robotics out for people to know.  With this option you would have almost every hobbyist downloading  it.
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Offline Admin

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2008, 10:25:12 AM »
I highly recommend making it a web-based program as opposed to something people download . . .

And ambitiousness needs to account for previous experience.

For example, with the parts sitting around in my room, a photovore is something I can build blindfolded in under an hour. (serious!)

Offline airman00

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2008, 10:03:44 PM »


For example, with the parts sitting around in my room, a photovore is something I can build blindfolded in under an hour. (serious!)

lol soldering while blindfolded, not the best idea.....
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Offline izua

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2008, 03:40:45 AM »
Is it desktop based or web-based? I'd go with what admin said. If you really want it to look like desktop software, ajax is your friend. You could also use shockwave flash files, that would add to the eye candy.

in the end, groupware solutions are pretty much the kicker for this stuff. but if it's your pleasure to write it, there's nothing we can do about it.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2008, 03:42:34 AM by izua »
Check out my homepage for in depth tutorials on microcontrollers and electronics.

Offline Rand alThorTopic starter

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2008, 09:59:34 PM »
Actually, I do prefer a downloaded application to a web-based one. Sure, it is a pain, but I don't like going online every time I want to play Runescape or something... I'm on a familly trip to Utah right now and Grandma doesn't have any internet whatsoever, and their isn't Wifi anywhere in sight, so it's been such a relieve of frustration to get on the Wifi in this cabin up in the mountains we are staying in for two days...I got to download Visual Studio on Mom's laptop (YEAH!!! ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D!!!).

But Web programming is a whole new platforn for me, and I'd have to learn ASP.NET, AJAX, Visual Web Designer Express, etc. I do know some basic HTML, and am Fluent in C# now (it's now officially my favorite language)...so a java applet would possiably do the trick, right? But I really need that RAD. I'm addicted. If I'm gonna have to learn graphical java gui programming, I'm definatly gonna charge for it. (Hmmph!).

Offline JesseWelling

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2008, 10:48:49 PM »
I use TiddlyWiki for my engineering notes. It's a self-modifying web page that is run with javascript that can be uploaded and run through the internet or run locally. You might get some ideas from it, as well as being BSD licensed, you maybe be able to use it as a building block.

And for geek factor here is the Wikipedia article on TiddlyWiki.

Offline airman00

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2008, 09:39:42 AM »
so Rand alThor are you gonna do it?

Do the platform in whatever language you want , I wanna see it running! It will be awesome.

Drop me an email for what you need me to contribute to your project
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Offline pomprocker

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2008, 09:51:42 AM »
for web applications, i'd go with the LAMP platform.

Linux/Unix, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl

Unless you want to learn Java, then that would be the way to go to develop JSP's (Java Server Pages) and find a web server running a container like Tomcat or something.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 09:52:47 AM by pomprocker »

Offline Asellith

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2008, 04:24:04 PM »
wow tiddlywiki is cool. Having some trouble getting use to it. Can you embed photos and files links in it because that would be great!. Now I just need to find a place to store it online for backup and maybe periodically print copies to log my engineering/robotics adventures.
Jonathan Bowen
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Offline Cotowar

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2008, 10:05:11 PM »
Hey, for ideas on things to add to your list, or features you want to be available for selection, I would personally break it down into several main groups, such as "easy" , "medium", "hard", and "rediculous".

You probably know more about building robots than I do, being as I've never actually done it, but here are some of the ideas I've been throwing around as far as the electronics parts goes.

Live streaming video
Live streaming stereo video
Thermal imaging
IR/ Night Vision
Audio input(microphone)
Stereo audio input(multiple mics) (could be used to locate different things.)
weather sensors(atmospheric pressure, temp, humidity...etc)
digital compass
audio output(speaker)
live audio output
speech recognition

I've either found hardware already available for all of these, or have figured out ways to implement them, so they are all reasonable ideas. If you need help coding this in VB, you can give me a holler. I haven't used VB in a while, and can't actually code anything being as I run Linux and haven't found any freeware IDE's for it, but I can try to lead you in the right direction.
--Cotowar--

Offline Cotowar

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2008, 10:13:43 PM »
Also, here's a minor problem with making it a web based program. I guarantee you cannot develop a security system that cannot already be broken, so your program will be uploaded to other websites within a matter of days. Just letting you know.
--Cotowar--

Offline Rand alThorTopic starter

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2008, 11:37:31 PM »
Sorry I haven't responded to much for a while. We've been out of town visiting Grandma for the past three weeks, with no Internet. So anyway, I don't think I want to make it a web-Based program, because I don't know anything other than some Javascript and most HTML. But I am learning PHP, and I did get a book on perl, but I don't have a website yet, and I am working on other projects at the moment(school's about to start). Will PHP be enough, or do I have to get into ASP, etc.?

Offline Admin

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2008, 04:48:41 AM »
No need to reinvent the wheel. Google around to see how other people have done it - there are quite a few examples online.

Offline pomprocker

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Re: Robot Features
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2008, 09:52:57 AM »
No need to reinvent the wheel. Google around to see how other people have done it - there are quite a few examples online.


hah I said that same thing way up there...

i say don't re-invent the wheel, spend less time writing programs that are already out there, and more time building robots !!


look into "free groupware" or something like that. My last job we used "phpprojekt" here we are using "dotproject"

 


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