Author Topic: Robot need Brain!  (Read 2132 times)

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Offline robot b9Topic starter

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Robot need Brain!
« on: September 05, 2008, 07:35:04 PM »

I have perhaps gone about my Robot project a bit backwards: I built the "Robot" first, now I need to do the electronics/computer stuff.


More or less this is now just a big remote control toy robot. It is over 6 ft tall and weighs 200+ lbs. The functions work very well. Motion over different surfaces has been well tested. There is an internal pneumatic system that gives the claws very nice operation. Its all powered by the typical electric wheel chair batteries and a 3/4 hp permenant magnet motor.

But it needs a Brain! A simple function like line following would be great. A camera object sensing following system even better. Voice recognition would be great too. Obviously I will have to add object detection and avoidance sensors.

My first problem is to decide what architecture to use. An embedded PC is one possibility. Linux seems a good idea too. Some sort of networked microprocessor system could be done.

What do you guys, who have gone this way before, think?

Offline RobD

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Re: Robot need Brain!
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2008, 08:24:52 PM »

Maybe you could put an axon on it? 
  I think it would be a good fit with much room to grow for you. 

Thats nice.  I like the tread section.  Seems like treads are a pretty difficult thing to implement.  In fact, I don't even know why people continue...but you found an alternative to keep it true to (tv) life.  Good job!

Offline robot b9Topic starter

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Re: Robot need Brain!
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2008, 06:07:20 AM »
Thanks for the help! Yes, treads can be a nasty job. Way too much work to get them to run right. My treads are essentially “fake” but are a sort of hybrid between wheels and treads.

I have no doubt that an Axon could do many of the functions I have in mind. Line following, camera tracking, follow me, no problem. But what if these functions were needed to be selected? Would it be a good idea to have a single Axon to do multiple (not at the same time) functions? Would multiple Axons be better or even necessary?

Then there is the question of some sort of voice interface. I could be wrong but this seems to be easier (cheaper?)done with a PC with Linux. And this leads me to some circular logic: If a PC could do functions like Line following, camera tracking and follow me why would it be necessary to use a device like an Axon?

Right now, if I read between the lines, it looks like a reasonable way to go would be to use both a PC and an Axon like device(s)? Sort of like a hierarchal system with a PC as the master processor and Axons as slave processors.

Offline dunk

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Re: Robot need Brain!
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2008, 07:34:16 AM »
yea, having a PC on the bot allows you to use 3rd party software and peripherals (like voice recognition software and webcams) which would be a definite bonus to a project like this.

if you use a PC on board you will still need an extra device interfaced with the PC to control the robot's various actuators.
some sort of microcontroller would be a good option for this although there are off the shelf modules that you could connect to a PC to control your motors and pneumatics.

another option would be to have a microcontroller on board communicating wirelessly with a PC somewhere near by. it's not as elegant a solution though but it does save you from the headache of trying to get a PC to run off batteries.

if you dig around on my robot's website http://mrdunk.googlepages.com/home you'll see details of my approach (embedded Linux machine connected to a microcontroller network for controlling actuators and reading sensors).

i guess a large part of this will come down to what is your experience with electronics and embedded computing?
ever programmed a microcontroller before?
ever worked with embedded linux?
how much time are you willing to invest? how quickly do you want a solution?


Offline Admin

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Re: Robot need Brain!
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2008, 10:23:06 AM »
Seems very similar to this project:
(see the software section)

As dunk said, even if you use a PC (laptop is better), you'd still need a microcontroller (or Phidgets) to control the external hardware.


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