I've spend too many years thinking about building my own robot and feel like I've found a group of like-minded folk with this site. :-) I'd like to share my adventure with you as I progress, if that's ok.
My background as a PC-based computer programmer has given me confidence that I could give a robot of mine a very good brain... it's just the mechanical and electrical lacking that has held me back. Not a lot to overcome then! I've read a couple of books now and scribbled a couple of ideas down on paper for how i might progress.
To get the best from my software development skills I wanted to use Borland Delphi v5 running on a windows os. This means I've been looking for solutions that integrate directly with a laptop, preferably via USB, to keep it simple for me.
I'd investigated a few options that may have been suitable and I came across www.pc-control.co.uk
Before even trying their products and software I fired a few questions to them via email and can't fault them for their customer service. Having proved everything is suitable for me I've taken the plunge and have started my first robot project.
As a father of 2 girls (currently 8 and 10) my overall aim is to create something that will keep them entertained (hence my corny name FunBot), as well as challenge myself.
- no need for great speed (i'm not aiming to have races with this)
- no soldering required (could be challenging, but inital investigation shows I might get away with this)
- simple to construct (as my lack of skills here will hold me back)
- design for future expandability (but start fairly simple)
- get the brain functionality data driven and parameterised well so I can easily enhance the robot's capabilities
- keep expanding the robot's abilities as time goes by
Purchased, so far:
- motor bee controller (from www.pc-control.co.uk)
- 2 x easy roller robot wheel kit (from www.warburtech.com)
- servo motor (from www.pc-control.co.uk)
- stepper bee controller (from www.pc-control.co.uk)
- 2 x stepper motor (from www.pc-control.co.uk)
- sharp ir distance sensor (from www.oomlout.com)
- dig bee + (from www.pc-control.co.uk)
- micro bumper switch (from maplin)
- 6mm plywood (from B and Q)
- second-hand dell 910 notebook, running XP (the brain!)
- AA battery holders and heaps of rechargeable AA batteries
- various other bits to get it to hang together, e.g. spare wire, terminal blocks, small metal brackets
- simple wandering ability, obstacle avoidance using distance sensor and bumper switch
- speech using pre-recorded files and text-to-speech
- dance, utilising music playing capability and random sequences of music
- attach 'finger' gadget to a dc motor capable of kicking or flicking a ball, e.g. play a game with kids,
- speech recognition (using dragon naturally speaking software)
- use roborealm vision software (www.roborealm.com), I got in when it was freeware, along with webcam to identify objects, movement and anything else I can think of, e.g. follow people
- attach anamatronic hand gadget to grab and carry items
- ...etc, etc... all a bit ambitious, but no harm in aiming high, eh!
Now I just need to start to put all my ideas together and make it work.
I have actually started to build my creation so I'll get some pictures up soon to show my design and progress.
Any comments or suggestions are welcome. I'm very new to all this.
Thanks for reading.