Let's Make Robots!

Has anyone used Longer-distance rangefinders (ie golf Laser Rangefinders)?

Was wondering if anybody had any experience or had seen anything on here about people using longer range laser rangefinders as sensors for their robots. 

As I start to work through how to scale-up my current robot it struck me how limited the hobby LRFs and URFs are on range.  On a large bot those little rangefinders might still be okay for obstacle avoidance, but if I want my robot (a roving sentry) to be able to spot human-sized targets in an outdoor environment, I probably will need a much larger range.  I see laser rangefinders for golf selling for under $50... has anyone tried hacking one of these into a bot on here?




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I'm thinking of using just like one of our normal IR or ultrasonic rangefinders, but at a longer distance.  The rangefinder would be mounted on a servo on the front of my robot.

My current setup has a small ultrasonic rangefinder on a servo that pans the 180 degrees in front of the robot, and records the distance at each degree.  Then then servo continues to search by panning back and forth across those 180 degrees and comparing the distance at each degree.  If the current distance doesn't match the recorded distance then the robot knows that someone or something has approached, and will react accordingly by destroying it with a death ray (okay, so maybe its just a laser pointer).

The system works fine in my living room with distances out to a couple meters away, but I'd like to scale the whole system up for airsoft, paintball, or other human-sized weapon use.

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