Let's Make Robots!

What I want...

I've been thinking, while troubleshooting, a lot about what I would like in a bot. At first I'd  thought about a bipedal bot, but tracks are more stable, easier to work with, require less programming and unless you are using a large base for a bot it won't do stairs.  To be autonomous, to be able to do tasks without human control, such as recharging itself and performing basic tasks.  To be able to able to communicate via sound, preferably with human like speech.  The last two things I would like  are a big stretch with present technology is visual recognition and speech recognition. 

 

Part of what I'm doing is getting closer to that reality, by designing a modular system. The first step is a smart motor board that won't smoke my MCU. The next step which I've been working on is a type of freeduino, one with screw terminals. After that I will start working on a decent complete PSU, a unit that delivers powers economicly and has it's own on board smart charging unit. 

 

Yes having more fun with the parts than the actual bot again lol  

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"The first step is a smart motor board that won't smoke my MCU."

You just want to smoke the motor board alone, so you're being greedy! lol :)

 

Well on the Freeduino with Terminals idea, they're expensive as hell for an Arduino, but they're protected from pretty much everything. Might give you some ideas for your design.

http://www.ruggedcircuits.com/html/mb324p.html

The chip itself is a tad different than the Duemilanove's, it uses the 324 instead of the 328. (I'm not sure what the difference is truthfully, didn't look that much into it!:)) But it is Arduino compatible, but they also have their own software that looks pretty nifty. Also, each pin is protected for 12v continuously, and 9v reverse connection on pins

 

But for the speech stuff, why not take advantage of free day and pick up some of the SpeakJet IC's? They're spendy.. not sure I'd buy one, but since they're free.. lol

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9578

Yeah I'm greedy, MCUs aren't cheap and the motor board go get it's own to smoke! lol :) 

 

My design isn't that RUGGED, not going for milspec here, just something that if it decides to take a run down the stairs or try drifting around the corner and smacking the wall hard enough to rattle his insides that something doesn't come unplugged.  

My design has

 

  • Screw type terminals for the I/O, PWM, analog and power pins 
  • Reset switch (of course)
  • Female header pins for the USB programmer (my laptop doesn't have a serial port)
  • Can run off of 9v or 5v, selectable by jumper
  • No ISP pins
  • Smaller footprint than the Duemilanove
  • Stackable
I've been checking out the SpeakJet chip, looks awesome, but getting some of the basic stuff built first. I want to get the motor board going which has been a boondoggle for awhile. Once I get a programmer cable that works, it should be only a week or so to being done. Once that is done, Leo will be moving again with a new brain as well. Then will go on to playing with the rechargeable PSU. I've been looking at using booster chips and using AA NIMh rechargeables and putting a PicAxe in control of the board to monitor voltage level, etc. Still trying to decide whether or not to put a thermistor on each battery pack or not. Yeah I know big dreams for a small bot, but would like to make Leo as autonomous as possible.
 
I've been looking at the SpeakJet chip and looking at it and looking at it. The memory requirements for a decent vocabulary alone is more than I can do at this time.  Yeah, I'm sticking with the simple stuff for now.