Complete newbie jumping into a huge project! RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Hi there,
    I have a limited programming knowledge in `DarkBasic`, but I know I need to learn otehr languages and concepts to accomplish what I am endeavouring to achieve.
    If you take a look at my website, www.input-inc.com. you will see what sort of task I am facing!

    I need to be able ( enventually ) to have the robot `semi-autonomous`.
    Ok, I know the list below goes on & on and most are VERY complex, but I still write below it all as I can dream too!
    By that I mean I want the robot to :

    A: React via movement / sound depending on inputs.
    B: Run set routines of movment / sound selected by the `user` or dependant on inputs.
    C: Run `random` routines occasionally - to `try to simluate random personality` ( I plan this idea to have a program that auto creates a random     movement/sound sequence, checking for collision via its own simulation and/sensors, before running the movement )
    D: Have some features overidden with remote control from the user.
    E: The list can (and will) go on!

    The first thing I`ll say is how I plan to have the robot setup :

    I want to have at least one onboard PC; if more, I plan to have one to serve and control some of the features, and the other(s) to be clients and control other features, connected wirelessly (reason for wireless is to minimise the wires between the upper & lower body).
    I plan to have a LCD screen, and usb for mouse/keyboard on board for accesability.

    The first part of the main structure of the `OS` I think would be like this description : If you imagine the robot had a `minds eye` as it were, and in that minds eye, there would be an image of itself. This image would be a true realtime representation of all the limb positions, via the feedback from the servos/sensors. This way it knows exaclty where its limbs are so that it `knows` not to collide them during movements. :- is that a good idea to start with, considering that there will be about 80 (+) motors/servos/feedbacks/... within the system? I`d like the program to know whats going on in realtime, rather than the user repsoding (slowly) or limbs crash due to a bad programmed sequence. I think it could also be used to `program` the sequences, when in programming mode.
    Ok, I think I have gone on enough for now! LOL - there is still SO much more what I would like to add in to the project!

    So, even if a little, I will appreciate ANY help on this, as I know what I want to do, and I do consider myself to be a competent and quick learner, but I just dont know how and where to start!

    eg, I have been looking at USB servo controllers, but I still cant figure out if thats `a` way to start?

    so please, any help !


    Simon Marston
    Sunday, November 8, 2009 12:11 AM

All replies

  • Very ambitious, but certainly possible using RDS. In fact, if you end up with multiple on-board PCs then RDS is ideal because with CCR/DSS you can distribute services across multiple computers in a network and they will all work together. However, I think what you want to do can be done with a single PC.

    Servo controllers are easy enough and usually use a serial port. You can get a USB-to-serial device to provide this if your PC does not have a serial port. (Many PCs these days do not have serial ports, a.k.a. COM ports). For example, in our book samples there is a service for the SSC32 controller from Lynxmotion that can handle multiple servos.

    You will presumably want a drive system as well, which is a different issue. For that you will need an H-bridge to handle the power for the wheels (or treads). You will need some sort of controller board to interface with the H-bridges. There are many of these on the market. For example, the Serializer from RoboticsConnection.

    Then you are going to need a bunch of sensors...

    You will also need to learn RDS. I suggest you download it and work through the tutorials and samples. You can use the Simulator initially without having to invest in any hardware.

    Good luck.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 7:44 AM