Let's Make Robots!


This simple project has a Picaxe 28x2 and a speakjet daughterboard. I layed out the components of it in Google sketchup. Because LMR doesn't allow sketchup files as attachements, I'll refer you to my blog:  http://ve9qrp.blogspot.com/2009/10/robot-plans-in-google-sketchup.html

The models of the caster, motor pack and wheels for those I had already bought were luckily already in the Google 3D Warehouse. I added the models of the various layers and, most importantly, of the PCBs that I had already made.

 The servo is intended to rotate a Sharp IR range-finder, which is modeled as a black rectangle with some white dots. The white pillars represent bolts which run through the layers held in place by locked nuts on either side. This was largely to ensure that the battery packs would still allow clearance for the bolts and everything else. Some of the components are somewhat out of alignment, as you can see from the diagram, but even this level of accuracy was very helpful in ensuring that the final project would work.


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While the sketchup file gives the impression that this is all hypothetical, in fact both the motherboard and the speech board were complete before I started modelling it. I did the 3D model so that I could be sure that with a certain wheelbase, etc. all the parts would fit!

I'm using a speechjet and a TTS256, which converts ascii text to the phonemes used by speechjet. However, I was never able to get the TTS256 to properly pump the speechjet with data based on its 'buffer-half-full' pin. As a result, for a while there I was only able to 'say' short phrases of about 5 words, after which the buffer of the speechjet would drop stuff. In early Sept. I worked around the problem by doing string parsing in the picaxe, basically putting a pause in at each 'space' character. The output is a bit less smooth because sometimes the speech daughterboard runs out of content, but it does mean that long text can be spoken. 

I have an a 1 kbit EEPROM on the motherboard, as well as a DS1307 Realtime clock, from which the speech daughterboard can draw canned phrases and announce the time respectively.

 Honestly, if I do this again, I hope that by then something a bit easier to work with than the speechjet/tts256 are available. Perhaps http://code.google.com/p/tinkerit/wiki/Cantarino will provide that.


Hey, once you master the speakjet daughterboard, you have to do a walkthrough! We need mre sounds on our bots, it is completely underrated at the present stage! :)

And we will have a look at Sketchup-files, I have had a look at an online player, remind me if I forget about it :)