Let's Make Robots!


Obstacle avoidance via IR sensor.

My goal is to create an obstacle avoiding mobile platform. I'd like to
add a Raspberry Pi to supply remote communitions and some control.

The platform should be able to independently navigate our normal household
without getting stuck in/under something or falling down the stairwell.

Obstacle avoidance is achieved using a Sharp IR distance sensor. The sensor
is mounted on a servo that sits on a rotating base. This allows for X and
Y axis movement. This allows the same sensor to be used to detect vertical
obstacles in front of and above the platform as well as detecting dropoffs.

This is a project that I started well over 10 years ago. I bought a
Lnyxmotion kit and a wonderfully elaborate micro controller. The
Lynxmotion kit was the Mobile Five Axis Robotic Arm Kit. A great setup,
you got a two wheel mobile platform and a 3 axis arm with gripper.
Lynxmotion recommended using a Basic Stamp PIC controller to drive
the servos and sensors. Well I had been doing some research and found
a great controller board that used the Motorola M68HC11 and a mated
MC68HC24. This gave you many digital input/outputs along with serial
ports and other goodies. Well that nice complex controller was a part
of the initial reason for shelving this project all those years ago.
Getting started was too complex. Couldn't get a grip on establishing the
correct interfacing circuitry or the programming. So things got shelved.

Then along came the Arduino. While talking to a friend about solar panel
projects I got to wondering about controlling and monitoring a solar panel
setup. So I got an Aruino, went through the tutorials and learned. I
was able to put together some decent monitoring software and circuits. Then
I remembered that I had all of this cool robotics stuff stashed away! Yep,
I started figuring out how to use the Arduino to control the platform. Gave
up on the arm and gripper portion of the kit. It just wasn't useful to me.