I am going to be writing a research paper on programmable logic devices for robotics for my digital logic design class. Here is the abstract:
The topic I would like to explore is digital logic design applied to robotics. Most hobby roboticists use augmented microcontrollers. The reason behind that is cost and availability. The programmable logic devices used to build reconfigurable digital circuits is beginning to spark the interest of the hobbyist. I am going to compare and contrast several types of PLDs and then narrow in on one with certain specifications, until I find one that suits my needs. There are certain basic needs of a robot, and that is to be able to retain its programming once power is no longer present. The device will also need to handle conversions between analog and digital signals including pulse width modulation. Once I find the perfect device for this application, I will then begin to research programming it with VHDL or Verilog to do a simple algorithm like photovore, photophobe, object avoidance, object chaser, etc. This device will have to be able to control two hobby servos modified for continuous rotation using PWM, which will act as its differential drive system. There will also be a few sensors I will choose from based on the algorithm I go with. The sensors will be photo-resisters, Sharp IR range finders, and Ultrasonic sonar rangefinders. While I will not actually be building the robot, as I already have using an MCU, I will figure out how to do it using a PLD. I will design the circuit using methods from class as well as learn a bit of VHDL/Verilog to go along with it. I may or may not be successful, but I will present what I have learned from my research either way.