Let's Make Robots!

Esky that follows me, noob where to start?

Hi all I'm wanting to make something like this; http://blog.colecago.com/?p=87 But, I have no idea about robotics and know only simple programming of smart relays. I would also like to integrate remote control as well into the transmitter. I have electrical knowledge but not really anything about microcontrollers. If possible I would like for it to carry up to 40kg in an outdoor area. I know this may be ambitious but I'm willing to learn and not really working to a timeframe.

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I am not sure what you are thinking of when you ask about "hacking the sensors". What would you want to hack them to do that is different from what they do already? Ok, never mind that. I watched the Heck show video and I see what they did. I certainly would not have done it that way, but then there are always thousands of different ways to do something electronically. For instance, you could use various methods employing encoded radio signals (encoded so they do not affect any other equipment in an airport or have other things affect them), light (infrared light would be the best here, since it cannot be seen by (and bother) people around you or various methods using ultrasonics. There are other ways but these are probably the easiest. You could even have a manual control you hold in your hand that makes the luggage go where you tell it by moving a joystick on press buttons but that is manual control rather than the luggage following automatically.


When you say you do not know about robotics, frits's recommendation is all the more important. You do not have to build a Start-Here robot yourself, but reading the pages as to what others have done will help you learn about robots and what is possible and what is not, (At least not for a reasonable amount of money, anyway.)


Building robots yourself will help you to understand "why" things act as they do, and what happens if you make this or that change either in the hardware or the software. It will also help you learn the programming of micro-controller chips. Those are a lot like a computer on a chip, but specialised for turning a lot of things on or off. Note that they only put out 20 or 40 milliamps depending on what chip you use. As far as moving 20, 40 or even 500 kilograms, that depends on the strength of the motors you use. Remember that more powerful motors will need more electricity, which means bigger batteries. You will also need driver circuits that take the small current from a microcontroller and make it turn on or off the larger current needed to run heavy motors. For heavier loads you might choose motors like those used for wheel-chairs, those used raise and lower "automatic" car windows or windshield (windscreen) wiper motors.


That robot luggage is a nice idea, but I think someone else might be a better role model for you to follow. The bit about "UART dyslexia" is really funny. (There is no such thing.) What he seems to be saying is that he has no clue how one works or how to wire it up properly. Even so, a UART (universal asyncronous receiver transmitter) is not actually needed to accomplish a robot luggage project such as you want. I think the easiest way to do it would be to use a small IR-LED with an oscillator perhaps wired up like a small hand flashlight (/torch). You turn it on when you want the robot to follow you, and there is no need for the radio control signal they used to tell the transmitter when to "ping".



I'm wondering if this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUFNgfTP2vM will work for my direct measurement 'call' system.

OR i could hack the PING sensors, not sure which is easier?


Thanks maxhires I think if I break each part down I'll get there. I'm going to buy some bits and pieces and start playing around. Have you got any good links on hacking the sensors? I haven't been able to find much yet? I think I will be going thru the 'start here' process first.

I strongly.. strongly advise you to start by clicking at "Start Here" in the top menu.

This is quite a project for a beginner. Using Xbees with UART, a PID loop, hacked ultrasonic sensors and heavy-duty motors: good luck and be sure to show us your progress!