Let's Make Robots!

Oh my am I ever excited

Good news everybody!

I'm new. My name's Cam. I've never built a robot or any electronic circuit but for some reason I'm super-confident that I'll be awesome at it.

 

I have a little bit of scripting/coding experience, I'm hoping at least some of that translates over to robot building. I'll have a heap of help at least to start off with from a friend of mine, he's never built robots either, or really done much in electronics, but he's an engineer ooh wow

I have *so* many huge ideas that will never ever happen probably.

One is a robot that opens bottles. this one shouldn't be too hard... all I want it to do is detect the hight of the bottle, extend a little bottle opening arm and open it whenever a bottle is put on it. I have a few basic ideas on how it'll work, we'll see how that goes.

 

The other *main* robot I want is a eskybot (do you have eskies in other countries? wikipedia says "genericised trademark and as such is a colloquial term in Australia for any portable icebox or cooler.")

The idea here is to have an esky (cooler) that comes when I call it. This seems almost impossible from what I've read, or at least really expensive and hard. If anyone wants to disagree with me on that point I'd love to hear your advice.

I want a really simple robot that adjusts the thermostat for my central heating. This should be pretty easy. I want it to turn on about an hour before my alarm is set to go off. This means a different time on weekends. I also want it to turn "Full on" and adjust it down when it reaches whatever temprature. I know, that's what the thermostat does, if it's set to 23 degrees it'll heat up the room to 23 then turn off, turn back on when it drops below etc etc... but it seems like it doesn't do it very efficiantly for maximum heaterage, especially when it's just starting.

Mainly I want it to look cool.

I've ordered a couple of "arduino starter packs" from a site here in Aus (robotgear.com.au) which seems reasonably good. If there are any other Melbournians that know a better place let me know... at the moment I have no idea what I'm looking for.

 

I plan to start with simply making every piece of equipment in this pack do something and understanding how and why it's doing it. From there, we'll see how I go.

 

I'll finish by saying this site looks great, I know this is going to be a fantastic resource. Cheers to CleanCleanClean at Reddit for pointing me in this direction and ALL the other tips!

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Okay. See up at the top of the page, there's a link called start here? Well...Start there. Except use your arduino instead of the picaxe.

 

Voice recognition is hard, having your eskie find you in a complicated household environment, or even outside, is even harder. That is, unless you opt for that painful subdermal tracking chip. But, if you can pull it off, more power to you!

Good luck!

(By the way, Mr. Melbournian...do you know an Adrian Dibben of Murray Bridge? He's my uncle.)

Murray bridge is about an 8 hour drive away in another state. Not to mention, Melbourne alone has a population of about 4 million! very unlikely I'll know any particular person :P

Thanks heaps for your tips. I've been thinking about the eskybot for a while, I don't really mind if it's much simpler.

 

One thing I'd like to know, if I generate a sound in a particular frequency range (say, the noise a toy sonic screwdriver makes...) can I get my robot to respond to it? is that something that's 'done' around these parts? if it can do that I really don't mind a simple track around my house that my esky can follow until I tell it to stop...

 

Or what about moving towards a beacon? I don't know... maybe a sound beacon? or a light beacon? *shrug* my 1st projects will be much *much* simpler but I don't mind getting some thoughts out there.

 

Thanks heaps for the feedback! You're awesome and this site is fantastic. :D

Light beacons work, as long as you have line-of-sight. Modulated IR (just like a TV remote uses) is the most common.

Sound beacons will also work, so long as the robot can both 'hear' the sound, and tell where it's coming from. You either need 2+ directional microphones, or one directional mic that con rotate around to find the source of the sound, If you have a specific frequency in mind then the robot can be tuned to filter out anything that isn't at that frequency, which will improve the sensitivity of the beacon locator.