Skip to main content

Create Fun with Grandson

Last weekend two grand kids were here. The girl, Dorian, is a teenager. The boy, Kade, is six. Just before Christmas I was working on the Fit PC Slim to iRobot Create interface when they visited. He had his nose up close asking when it would be done. He asked the same thing in another visit since then. I had to reply it was not done but I was working on it.

So this visit I just had to have something working. I got the basic wander and bump into routines working with the Slim - a reproduction of the Create demo 1 behavior. I figured that would be good for about 2 minutes of interest so needed more.

Since this project will be using a web camera for vision I used some velcro to plunk the camera onto the Create just behind the IR sensor. The velcro raised it enough to see over the top of the sensor. I brought up RoboRealm and setup its built-in web page viewer. This lets you see the camera's images. I pointed the laptop at the web pages to display what the Create was seeing.

That was good for about 20 minutes and we got called for lunch and told to put the robot away. Awwww!!!

Next visit is in a couple weeks - they are visiting here pretty regularly now. The goal is to have the Create follow a "leash" - a red dot mounted on the end of a stick. That means getting the software to talk with RR to get information on the center of gravity (COG) of the red dot and send the drive commands to the Create to center and drive toward the dot. It should stop when it gets a little bit away from the dot, and even back up if the dot gets closer.

Popular posts from this blog

Cold Turkey on Linux

I bit the bullet a few weeks ago with Linux. I was getting ready to go to WPI for the SRR competition and decided to go cold turkey on my laptop. I put in a SSD and loaded Zorin Linux. It us recommended as a substitute for Win XP. One reason I liked it is the rolling upgrades instead of the Ubuntu staged upgrades.

There was still frustration. The WiFi did not work so I used the software updater to install the drivers it found from Broadcom. The OS would not boot after that. I reinstalled just before leaving and took the memory stick with the Zorin Live distro with me figuring I could always reload from it. I was impressed by the quickness of the installation. That encouraged me since if I messed up the laptop I could always quickly reinstall. I also had my iPad so accessing email, FB, and Twitter (I did a lot of tweeting with photos) were always available. 
I kept busy so it was not until Friday night up in VT to visit my sister that I had time to do much with the laptop. I cannot reca…

Sensor - Accelerometer & Magnetics

Just as I was finishing my first look at the accelerometer and magnetic field sensors a couple of threads cropped up on the Android Developer's group:

http://groups.google.com/group/android-developers/browse_frm/thread/1b42c48ce47cb1c9/720c6f4f8a40fc67#720c6f4f8a40fc67

http://groups.google.com/group/android-developers/browse_frm/thread/2e14272d72b7ab4f#

I had the basic code working so dug a little deeper into the rotation routines and the timing. I posted responses on the threads but want here to dig into the details more.

First some observations applicable to my G1:

The sensors report approximetly every 20, 40 and 220 msec for FAST, GAME, and NORMAL.
A sample may be missed for a specific sensor but usually one of them will be generated - but sometimes all can be missed.
The magnetic field sensor is most reliable with only a few drops. The other sensors are dropped considerably more often.

A caveat in all this is the way I setup the sensor handling may make a difference. I have a singl…

The Autonomous Roboticist

Since September 2016 I've been competing in the NASA Space Robotics Centennial Challenge (SRC). The challenge had a qualifying period and the final competition. I was one of the twenty teams from an international pool who qualified for the final competition. In mid-June the competitors ran their entries on a simulation in the cloud. The last few days, June 28 -30th capped the competition with a celebration at Space Center Houston, an education and entertainment facility next to the NASA Johnson Space Center.

On Thursday, the 29th, teams were invited to give presentations to the other teams, the NASA people who organized the challenge, and others. I used the opportunity to speak about my approach to the competition but also to raise the question of how an amateur roboticist, like myself, can make a meaningful contribution to robotics. 
Two ways are through competitions like this and by contributing software to the Robot Operating System (ROS). There aren't always competitions …