Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Great Sites for Robot Enthusiasts

So, I wanted to add a list of sites that I find to be interesting, helpful and cool for robot lovers like me.  Here they are:

Tronixstuff - Great site for tutorials and reviews of kits.
Hackaday - Cool, new hacks and projects from around the web
DFRobot - Great for parts and tutorials
Let's Make Robots - Lots of awesome robots and a large forum
Yourduino - THE place to find parts on the cheap
RobotGrrl Blog - This girl makes a lot of robots and is quite good

These are just a few of the millions of sites out there for robotics.  A simple google search for robots will take you a long way.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Let's Get Moving...

This is a video of my robot taking infrared commands from an IHome remote that I rummaged from a pile of my junk.  I programmed the little guy in C and the code can be seen below.  I had to calibrate the motors to run at the same speed and they often don't go perfectly together.  If I used encoders, I could calibrate them much better, but that is a project for another day.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Arduino - The Do-Everything Microcontroller

In my wild hunt for robotic excellence, I came across the Arduino platform for robotics.  The Arduino is a microcontroller that is designed to be easy to use, program, wire-up and generally work with.  In search of a microcontroller, I ordered a version of the Arduino from, called the DFRduino Romeo.  This particular version comes with two motor controllers built onto the board for easy access.  Otherwise, I would have had to build an H-Bridge circuit to control the motors.  Here is a picture of the Romeo in all of its glory:
Along with the Romeo, I ordered a robot platform called the Magician Chassis.  It is a small two wheeled chassis with motors included and an omni-wheel in front.  It is made with hobbyists in mind and is therefore perfect for my application.  Here is a picture of the Magician Chassis:
After everything arrived, I decided to put it all together and wire it up.  I have run some programs on it, but I will talk about those later...  Here is a picture of what my robot looks like now:

The ipod Amplifier

The first part of the project was to build a suitably loud ipod Amplifier that wouldn't break the bank.  I chose to follow this example:
I used the same circuit, but made some design adjustments to the casing and the speaker choice.  At first I used a speaker that I ripped out of an old telephone, but it overloaded in about 30 seconds.  So instead, I used a 2.5 inch, 8 ohm speaker from You-Do-It Electronics, which ran me about $2.  I also found a pretty good looking box for my circuit lying around the house.  Here is the first edition of the assembly:
I used a cup to amplify the signal a little bit more.  However, after poorly soldering the circuit together, I had to re-do the whole thing and I ended up with a better result.  Here is an image of the new version's guts:

This little thing can pump a jam nicely and should work ever so well on the "yet to be named" robot.

Welcome and current projects

Welcome to my new blog! The idea of the blog is to show my robotic exploits and show other people's as well. Currently I am working on a device that is similar to DJ Roomba from the tv show Parks and Recreation. The goal is to build an entire robot assembly from scratch and attach a homemade amplifier to it to play music. The robot will be able to sense obstacles and move away from them as well.

Working with Google's Cartographer SLAM Package

At my current position, at Canvas Construction, I have worked with a number of SLAM and localization packages. In the past few years, my wor...