Let's Make Robots!

WiFi - how can I talk to my bot with it?

I don't know much about networks and communications but most laptops and routers these days are wireless. Can we use this to interface with our bots?

A quick google on WiFi protocol told me that it is technically referred to as the 802.11 protocol.

The Xbee transceivers can also form a wireless network using the 802.15.4 protocol.

Is there some way of connecting a robot via WiFi using an Xbee? Rik has a blog on the subject. Unfortunately the router is too big for what I want and I still didn't understand how to use it.

Update:

WiFi.jpgAs all of you have been offering ideas and showing me products I did not find in my initial search I wonder if the answer hasn't been staring me in the face the whole time.

This is the WiFi / USB adapter I bought for my PC when I got the wireless router. 

It is small, low powered and relatively cheap. I suspect that once the network settings have been entered from the computer it would only need dirvers for communication.

Unfortunatly I have no idea how to implement this idea. Even if I can plug it into the PC to enter the network settings and then plugged it into a robot with say an Arduino or Picaxe brain. How would I then communicate with it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the winner is!

Thanks for all your input. It is apparent to me that if I really want to use the 802.11 protocol that my computer and laptop use then the module found at Sparkfun by Robologist is probably best value for money. It is also very small and should interface well to any microprocessor.

08869-06-L.jpg

For now, the Xbee Pro is nearly half the price and has much better range. I can still communicate with my robots from the PC or laptop using a USB adaptor available for the Xbee modules.

xbee_60mw_250.JPGxbee_usb_explorer_250.jpg

 

 

 

 

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XBee-2.5-Manual.pdf1.49 MB

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For what you're planning, would it help to have some sort of network bridge? Something to attach to your PC that would speak 802.15.4 to your robots? I would imagine such a device could be built.

It might speak to the PC using RS232 or some other serial speak. It would speak 802.15.4 to the Xbee devices on the bots.

Alternatively, perhaps there exits a "phidget" that would plug directly into the PC and also speaks Xbee? I know next to nothing about the Phidgets, so I'm merely speculating about "cool stuff that might already exist".

 

Remember, a bridge would only jump one of your hurdles for you. You still need to come up with a transport protocol if you intend to communicate a network with several nodes. I mean, when your messages need to hop node to node to node. And of course your application will require some sort of message encoding. Bleep means right - Bloop means left.

I can connect a Xbee pro via a USB interface to a PC and communicate via the 802.15.4  protocol.  This would not utilise the existing WiFi abilities of my router and laptop.

So what you'd need is the connecting software? Some network (IP) oriented program to translate and relay messages to Xbee.

No software is not the problem. . The hardware is very straight forward. Hyperterminal could even be used to send commands.

I was hoping to some how use Xbee modules because I cannot find WiFi modules. 

Nah, what OddBot wants, I think, is a WiFi module small enough to put on a bot; and an API for PC and Bot that will let him exchange data.