Let's Make Robots!

Robot Baneblade

Navigate by ultrasonic sensors, track targets with moving turret via non-contact temp sensor, "shoot" with LEDs in the guns

A remote-controlled Baneblade for a HSC Software Design and development project, already done by BobPanda, thanks for the inspiration, but now with a little more functionality. This is for a school project, by the way. The idea is to get the tank to navigate by itself through ultrasonics, track body heat with the sensor mounted on a rotating turret (which will be a bitch to program, from what I've heard), and basically look awesome with LED cannons. Also, it can receive commands via an IR sensor, and because my classmate is making a universal remote for his project we can have an RC baneblade. It's very ambitious, but I'm hoping that I can do it and maybe even make it a Golden Daemon entry :-). P.S. sorry for image quality, taken with my iPhone.

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Thanks for the help, just to be clear, the body moves based on range data from the ultrasonic sensor, its the turret that moves from the temp sensor. the turret only uses one servo (left right) for simplicity's sake.

I looked up the MLX90614ESF-AAA Infrared Temperature Sensor 90 on www.littlebirdelectronics.com and the datasheet says that it is suitable for human body temps, so i think i have the right sensor maybe. Its not going to follow an IR beam, though it can recieve remote control commands from a universaa remote that my friend is building.

Also, could you also clarify what you said about needing multiple sensors for each axis? i was planning on using only one sensor, because it said it had a 90 degree FOV. i've never done this before so im a bit of a noob at robots.

By the way, your tracking systems are really good!

You want at least two for your turret to track smoothly. Have one sensor looking left and one right. The program then turns the turret so that the target is picked up equally by both sensors. As the target moves, one sensors reading will increase and the other will decrease. The bigger the difference, the faster the turret has to turn to keep up.

Your sensors have a PWM output option. Use this with a simple RC filter to get an analog output.

Since your thermal sensor only has one monitoring zone it can tell you whether or not a warm target is in its sights, but it can't track the target effectively.
Let's say the turret is rotating in search of targets, and it detects that a person has come into view. Now the person moves out of the sensor's monitoring zone - but which direction did the person go? With only one sensor there's no way of knowing, so there's no way to properly track the target.

If you had two sensors instead, or a single sensor with two adjacent monitoring zones, then you'd be able to detect whether the target was moving to the left or to the right before the target left the field of view. Even if the target was able to outrun the rotation speed of the turret, at least you'd be able to determine the direction it was last seen heading.

thanks TeleFox and Oddbot, that really made things very clear. I think I should be able to  get another temp sensor within a week or two, along with the actual model (time/money have been short and a baneblade is very expensive), so that should take care of things. Thanks again, big help, and I will post pics of the work in progress as soon as I can.

I could't be bothered having to but another temp sensor so I bought a PIR sensor to mount on the tank. the plan is that if the PIR senses something, the turret goes into "sentry mode" sweeping left and right until the heat sensor locks onto an appropriate heat source (human heat, in this case). Maybe more erratic turret movement, but my budget was starting to get squeezed and a PIR was less expensive than a decent non-contact temp sensor where I was looking.

This will work, but just remember that when the tank is moving the PIR will act as if everything around it is moving, so you'll only be able to use it when stationary.

ah I see. This may necessitate some programming changes, but seeing as in real life a Baneblade would have to stop to fire its main cannon (more accuracy plus protection from recoil effects), this is acceptable. Thanks a lot!

It does sound like an ambitious project but a worthy one. Programming it to track an object is not that hard.

If you want to track body heat then first you need the right kind of sensors. Normal IR sensors used with TV remotes only detect wavelengths of about 800-1000nm depending on the sensor. Body heat is strongest at about 10um.

If you do have the right sensors then tracking is easy and can be done with 2 analog sensors for each axis. If you want to track an object with the IR used by TV remotes then you will need something like my IR tracking system. I have since developed a compound eye that works very well at close range (10-20cm).

These systems do not track IR generated by body heat. Instead they use IR leds like a miniature spotlight and follow the light reflecting off of a nearby object.

As far as programming goes, the hardest parts are preventing your servos from over correcting which causes them to jitter and ignoring ambient light. If you want example code then I have posted the software for Mr.General for both Picaxe and Arduino.

The parts