Let's Make Robots!

What can a robot do?

I asked a question here about a robot's reaction to input coming from standard sensors. I got a lot of good answers and a lot of very useful information however I am now finding out I asked the wrong question...

I am going to re-ask here and see what I come up with.

What can you have a robot do? What I mean is, when a robot is in say, "drive mode" and cruising around, what parameters could it have that would predict it's behavour? For example, on one of Frits's bots on code included is to look for open spaces, i.e. an open doorway etc. What other inputs could it react to? Or do you even want the robot to drive away from danger --Maybe it should drive to items just to avoid them. I like Mintvelt's little guy with the articulated head but when and how often, during a drive around cycle, should the bot stop and have a good look around? (The look around part is really the base of the question I asked here)

Other ideas, it is pretty easy for a bot to drive to a specific spot (via an IR beacon) but what to do when it gets there? -Pick something up, drop it off? There is so many options here.

In conclusion (and to restate the question) I really want to add some personality to my robots instead of them being in a constant "drive around and avoid loop". What could you have your robot do?

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Hey thanks bunches oddbot,

-And I knew I knew that one! voltage devider... I even had a website bookmarked with a calculator on it for just this set-up! I'm an idiot, or forgetful, one of the two. Thanks either way. 

I like this idea of going back to base for a charge... I am actually working on this as we speak. I think I might start another thread about charging circuits in general. For now, I am still trying to find out how to use a picaxe as a voltage monitor...

I have seen the simple trick of using a diode on a ADC channel and having the unit monitor it's own internal voltage -this is super simple to do, however, I am not finding much in terms of monitoring the voltage from the main 12V lead-acid battery. I am looking at some big 20AH bastards so if the robot doesn't cruise around a lot, that should last quite a long time.

I came accross a ton of old cellphones and chargers that I'm looking to modify.


Just ahve to make sure you don't charge your batteries with an amperage that is higher than what they can handle.


This does deal with solar panels, but has some good info on recharging batteries and such. 

Glowing Electronic Teat...

If ever there was a name for a band that would be it!

All great ideas here...

I think I would suggest ... "EAT"

It's autonomous right? Well, it is when it has fully charged batteries... So, it's really only autonomous for 1 hour, after which, it goes brain dead until you spoon feed it 14Volts.  Don't you think it should feel itself getting hungry, and find something to eat?  Maybe you can make an IR beacon above a 14 Volt charger with a coupler.  Kind of like a glowing electronic teat . :P



That would be AWESOME.

Along with the "coinsumer" idea. It could get scared if it doesn't sense the presence of said "teat" and gets scared, if it can't see where it gets its recharge. 

Then I could see a panic mode where it runs around, using only bumper sensors to find its way.


You get the idea...  Mapping can become more relavent too.  Rodney Brooks did interesting work with subsumption architecture

So the behavior decompisition would be:

1. Explore and Map - If not hungry

2. Hungy - Find way back to Teat to recharge

3. Feeding - recharging until not hungry

4. Avoid Immediat Obstacles

So avoiding objstacles will supress other behaviors, and a hungry robot will supress the urge to explore.  Can you imagine, if this was implemented and you got between your hungry robot and its food?  Hopefully, Chris won't have a "Avoid Immediate Obstacle->remove obstacle with Oxy-Acetalene torch" sub-module :P


Yes, definitely leave the death-ray out of this one.

Oh good grief, Robots can pretty much do anything, as long as you give the time to program it.

One bot I saw was programmed to wander around and interact. If there's a flashing light, it will go and investigate, if it hears a noise it will begin singing, if nothing but a steady bright light, it will wander around to find a darker place to hide.

A good bookf I just came accross is calle Mobile Robots. It's a bit older, but I'm a junkie for used book shops.

It used the Atmel chip I think, which wouldn't be too hard to convert over for the picaxe. 

You could also have a random response, and depending on the outcome, that response can get higher or lower frequency in random picking.

Would be a way to have a start on a roboth that thinks and learns.