Let's Make Robots!

PropRover (Propeller Sensor Platform) GPS (UGV readiness)

Unmanned Ground Vehicle UGV Multiple Sensor Platform

I have always wanted a robot with multiple sensors to absorb and shout out about the environment in which it lives.

So what you will be seeing with "PropRover" is a journey exploring not only common but also some weird and strange sensors.

It uses Parallax's 80Mhz 8cog Propeller processor - i am confident that it will be able to handle the things i will be throwing at it.

As much as possible i will post full code with links to all the "obj" files from the extensive object library  Propeller Object Exchange

Above is the basic "Soap-Box" chassis ....... you may notice my "PlankoTilt" system mounted on the front , ready for camera and various probes....

...(woooot did i not mention my latest pan tilt camera system.. (CtC transformed my wooden-cutout prototype with his Laser cutting Plexi-glass service (cheers Chris it works a dream)... this will all unfold with time).

I am using my "Elfish computer" , as it has already keyboard,mouse,audio and Bluetooth connectors built in.

The drive system to the GM motors are basic LD293s (working) - with "QRD1114 encoders" to pick up rotational info.

Update 2012.9.30 :- Omni Wheels attached , 3 videos attached showing possible Drive Combinations

Update 2012.9.16 :- GPS module (egg) hatches - yes its going to have a  UGV mode (Unmanned Ground Vehicle)

It seems the GPS unit is designed to fit into its new protective enclosure.

The GPS data is the simplest data to extract.. using a serial terminal OBJ..

Tricky part is the software extracting the coordinates from the data stream....which i have already written from another project.

Testing out of the window.........provided you have 180 degrees open sky (3 or four satellites will appear most of the time)

Example live data out......note i have blurred out part of my Coords.. in case a UAV decides to flyby.

Update 2012.9.15 :- Spaghetti Soup (LAN cable innards) , prototyping is a nightmare, No cross talking Yeah.

Sensors are Paralleling ....mix and match time.

Now variables are also ported out as Speech, this is infectious to listen too, and also a good debug tool.

.....and birds are appearing to be nesting.......

BTW :- My file_ing system is also visible ie "Flash Cards" - all my circuits are documented and stacked neatly this way.

Update 2012.09.10 :- 8 Channel 12 Bit ADC

Analog inputs are always useful and the simple addition of a MCP3208 provides 8 Channels of 12Bit Analog to Digital conversion..

• 100k samples/second
• 1, 2, 4 or 8 channels
• Low Power: 500 nA typical standby, 400 μA typical active.

The Spin OBJ i am using not only reads basic Analog input but can also Average the value and also it has a frequency counter built in (this may come in useful for Audio sampling).

The ADC chip has a couple of modes , one for direct analog input and another for differential input.

For testing have i wired up a Thermister, 3 Potentiometers and an LDR....(room for extra sensors)

Update 2012.09.05

Lots of data flowing in needs some house keeping.... so i have installed a 2G MicroSD card ....(no extra components required)

One neat thing with the Propellers Spin IDE is the Character map where you can draw circuits into your code....


Update 2012.08.31  7-Segment Debug Egg and Binary input switch Plus Vocal Tract OBJ and Singing Seven Demo OBJ

           With all these sensors its getting more and more of a challenge to debug and switch-in various processes "on-the-fly"

So i have made the a 7-segment and switch arrangement to help and give extra feedback.......

Also coming into the forefront is the Audio system - AKA Stereo amplified speakers.

The propeller need "NO" extra component to provide Speech synthesis and Stereo spacial widening and positioning ..Yes what you hear comes direct out of the propeller.

....now its just a case of routing the sensor data to the speech OBJ and if the demand is high enough i will post the sound clips from the "singing monks" (yes 4 polyphonic monks)

Update 2012.08.28    Sensor Tower installed and First compass video added .....Lasy Susan edition....

Update 2012.08.23     First 4 Sensor capsules complete and connector system finalised

Looks like my "Plug&Play" idea might be plausible now.

Sensirion SHT-11 Temperature/Humidity/Dew-point Sensor       SHT-11 OBJ

BMP085 Pressure/Altitude/Temperature Sensor.      BMP085 OBJ

Here is first data .... needs to be averaged ... and not sure why first 2 values are invalid !!

NB. this is not corrected to local barometric pressure referenced to sea level (more about that soon)

I live @ 765M so you can see the uncorrected error...

3 Axis Gyro (hacked out of a Wii-Motion+ add-on)    Wii-Motion OBJ

  1. U6 Gyro  IDG600 InvenSense Dual axis gyro 'X and Y Axis
  2. U3 E x3500w EPSONTOYOCOM Crystal Gyro-Sensor single axis 'Z Axis

Sample gyro data , here you can see a backward/forward tilt response on the x-axis

(in this case samples were taken every 1/10 second.....it goes muchmuch faster than this)

Normal static probe data hovers around 0,0,0  ..... averaging required to reduce noise.

HM55B Compass module     HM55B OBJ

All sensor data so far has been displayed via the serial port - meaning sensor data is easily manipulated.

The propeller Serial Terminal "obj" allows control over the cursor position....

Below is a simple graphic showing live data with sensor showing the East direction.

Connector system are 0.1" inline header sockets

I figured 6 pins as standard

  1. 3.3V
  2. gnd
  3. Spare 01  (led ..thought cool idea to light them up ,or switch,etc)
  4. Spare  02   ditto
  5. SCL    I2C clock
  6. SDA    I2C data

For those astute LMRs another sensor idea is lurking in the photos above  :-)

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Four rubber wheels are frankly a nightmare to control..

I have opted to fit these :-

I have never controlled 4 Omnis before so this should also be fun.

NB for OddBot :- At last i have found a home for these guys.......

Looks like this wheels reduce the rotation drag to a minimum. Byebye precision. Welcome agility. Great to see that you can control it - that there is almost no accidental drift. The bit of accidental drift gives it a motion personality.

I am happy with the handling, however there is lateral slide, ie if its on a slope (sideways) then it will simply slide by its self, yes that can be corrected however there are limits.

My next idea is to try a hybrid version ..... Omnis on the front and knobbly tyres on the back, then i would have the best of both worlds (-: getting half of the precision back ;-)

At last i could finish off my 4Channel Motor Driver ....... cool runnings :-)

However there is more than one way to "Skin a Cat" , each drive combination has its own (dis)&advantages

No comment is large enough for the giggle this project has brought to my workshop. Rarely do I feel I need words like this. "cool" just does not cut it quite.

Fantastic, Gareth! Sensors overkill!

I think that Gareth has better toys in his eggs now than when Kinder made them :) - Thats an awful lot of sensors Gareth.

Excellent job so far man. Great project!  Can't wait to see more.

Wow! You eat a lot of Kinder Eggs! Your bot looks nice and somewhat made for outer space with all those blobs and knoby wheels...

this is a truly cool bot :D


I have included an 8 Channel 12Bit ADC chip ..... cozzzzz...... there are a host of Analog sensors out there to be exploited....