SplatBot MkIII - Fire fighting Wild Thumper!!
SplatBot MKIII is my first attempt at a fire fighting robot. The "Wild Thumper" 6WD chassis is the production version of my original 6WD chassis and the new flame tracking sensor is a new version of my IR compound eye. My first attempt at an IR compound eye was tested (and failed) on my original SplatBot.
My first challenge is to see if the new eye actually works. The outputs tested ok with a multimeter but getting it to work with the Wild Thumper robot controller to opperate a pan / tilt assembly and track an object is another problem.
The design is very similar to SplatBot MkII except much larger and the bottles are mounted higher so the suspension can flex without hitting the bottles.
After a few problems with electrical noise and a faulty IC socket on the flame tracker I finally got the robot to track movement of my soldering iron. The sensors are much slower to respond than the phototransistors on the IR compound eye so the eye can loose track of an object that moves too quick but for locating a fire this is not a big issue.
I am definitely going to have to add other sensors for navigation as this chassis has the high speed 34:1 ratio gearboxes. I will also have to add a remote kill switch. My biggest worry is that it will run into the fire, catch fire itself and then run around berserk possibly creating other fires. This might defeat the purpose although it might make a good Anti-mov entry.
I have attached a video of the flame sensor tracking the motion of a 60W soldering iron.
I have attached a video of the robots second attempt at putting out the fire (the first attempt ended with the robot sitting on the fire). Overall it's working but it needs a lot of fine tuning. Right now I am using RC to guide the robot to the fire and then the autonomous system detects the fire, aims the cannon and runs the pump.
Next step is to adjust the suspension to handle the full 4Kg load of water better and improve the cannon. The software needs to improve it's aim and to check the fire after it's out for hot spots. In the second attempt there was still some flame that the robot missed.
I have added more videos including the first failed attempt to fight a fire. This was due to the fact I was using a TV remote to control the robot and the flames interferred with the signal.
The Wild Thumper is a tough little bunny and despite sitting in the flames the only damage was one motor housing got singed. The aluminium chassis absorbed enough of the heat to protect all the wiring and electronics.
In the third attempt I have fixed a problem with the tracking system and added a scanning function. You can see about 1/3rd of the way through the video of the third attempt that a small flame is initially missed until a scan is done. The flame is then detected and extinguished.
At the moment I have not had time to adjust the suspension and all the waters weight is on the back wheels. This will be corrected in the next video.