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Still Alive and Working Hard

Long time without posting because I have been focusing entirely on preparing the swarm for the challenge. At some point I do blog entries on the thoughts and activities that went into the project. I will backfill them  just to keep the timing straight.

I have received a lot of assistance from vendors. Some in discounts and some in sharing knowledge. One I want to specifically mention is David Gray of ProgressiveRC. David answered a lot of questions about batteries and the wiring I will need which was very helpful. ProgressiveRC is providing a very nicely cased set of chargers  - the Double Sidekick Ticket - for the batteries, and special ordered 10.4 Ah batteries. There will be two of those in each member of the swarm.

Pololu provided discounts on a Simple Motor Controllers, Maestros, Wild Thumper 6WD, and other parts and pieces.

The last part of the puzzle is picking up the samples. I have the design concept and it works. I even have a video. I have a kludge for this on the current robot but it is pretty ugly. Looking at using tilt mechanisms from ServoCity. Might also need to use some of their construction beams.

I just looked at the hit rate for this blog and it is doing better than I thought. There are 25,000 or so hits. It would probably be a lot better if I were keeping it current but I am awfully busy with the project itself.

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Programming Languages Used for SRR

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Team Language                       Vision Processing
Intrepid                         C++ / Matlab                                           Kuukulgur                     C++                                          OpenCV Mystic                           C++                                          RobotRealm SpacePride                    RoboRealm state machine          RoboRealm Survey                           C++, Python                             OpenCV Middleman                     LabView                                   LabView UCSC                           C/C++                                      OpenCV Waterloo                       C++, Python                                             WPI                              C++                                                              Wunderkammer             Python                                      ROS …

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…

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. 
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