I've been a lurker for quite a while - I've built a few bots and now I'm thinking about my next project.
I'd really like to be able to use the power of a full PC to control my next robot. It's completely gratuitously unnecessary
for my initial needs, but I can see that eventually I will overrun the power available on a simple microcontroller. I really want to add adaptive learning to my designs and I have a bit of background in Java and Python that I'd like to put into use.
So basically I want to build my next robot with a split brain.
What I can see is a Arduino (gawd I love these things) with a XBee shield as a robotic "hindbrain". The Arduino would handle sensor inputs and motor/servo control as well as have very basic "instincts" - stop is you hit a wall, stop and shout if you lose signal to the forebrain, etc. All of the sensor inputs would get fed through the Xbee to the "forebrain" which is a 4 core/8GB beast of a machine. Decisions would be made based on the data sent over the link and then actions would be fed back to the Arduino via the XBee. the robot would still be autonomous, but the brain of the robot would be plugged into the wall.
I can see tremendous advantages to this -
1. The ability to run extremely complex algorithms in real-time
2. Real-time video processing
3. Real-time programming changes - no need to reflash the Arduino to make code changes
4. Extremely detailed logging would be possible.
So anyway, I'm sure than I'm not the first person to do this. Is anyone aware of any other sites that have any info on building a bot in this way?
I'm especially curious of everyones opinion of how to connect the two devices. A serial port (XBee) could be used, but it seems like I would run into program contention as multiple devices tried to read and write the port. What other wireless options are there?
Thanks all . . . this site is an incredible resource.