Robot Size and Methods of Obstacle Avoidance
October 27, 2013
I realize that most LMRians are going to have more experience with smaller robots and that I am in the minority here, but for the few that have similar or greater experience with big boys (or relevant experiences and insights from or in related fields) I wondered if I could see if you've noticed the same trends as I have in terms of larger (greater than 25cm in any dimension) Robs and effectiveness of various kinds of near-surface detection.
The conventional wisdom is that environment should decide what is most effective-if you have more black surfaces then use US, if you have more soft surfaces use IR, but if other factors come into play (say motors that have to be large enough to move such a platform that will always cause a drop out no matter how big of a snubber you put across a Sharp) what do you make of that wisdom? Then there's analog v. digital (Maxbotix v. HCSR04 for example) across either method, etc.
Also, has anyone had any success implementing the use of an accellerometer as a crash sensor on a larger, slower platform? The MMA on a MIcro Magician works wonders on a Tadpole sized machine but I can't get it to scale up to anything as large as Serv-O or aRDui5x. Both still need physical connection bump switches for reliable impact detection.
Luckily I'm not talking about anything as massive as a wheel-chair motor machine. Nothing I've built could knock a three-year-old boy over, so there isn't a lot of danger in the scale I'm considering here.
As I ponder it, I realize that there's no really perfect solution. Even if you could give a human-sized robot visual, tactile and sonic sensors on a par with what we have evolved as a species it wouldn't be enough to prevent every mishap. It certainly isn't enough to keep me from bumping into the chair every morning on the way out of the bedroom and knocking over the occasional Ming vase.