Sunday, 27 September 2015

Dandroid 2015 on video

This video shows obstacle avoidance with 2 infrared detectors and 1 ultrasonic sonar. It also has the ability to target human/animal activity in the room to play with. The robot is built around an EZ-B controller on top of the Cybot chassis and motors. The pauses are mainly to re-asses situations where sensor data is suspect to digital noise from the drive motors back on the main power supply.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Dandroid 2015: Use It or Lose it

It's 2015 and I find myself hardly programming at work, but being surrounded by a team of clever folks who appreciate a bit of hardware hacking. Still not much has changed in hobby robotics in the past 15 years with sensors except for on-board cameras, but processors are starting to be connected by WiFi as standard. I discovered a new platform, EZ-B by EZ-Robot, which doesn't try to process all the sensor input on-board, but streams data back and fourth to a computer near by or smart phone. This isn't a new idea, but they have done a good job with the EZ-B.

I realize that the clutter around me must go and my robot parts box is a waste of time and space. Now having some people who will gladly take this box (actually, it has become 3 large boxes) of junk parts for their own hacks, I find myself in a self-imposed use-it-or-lose-it plan. After over 12 years, the parts have come out and the creation is restarted with the same design goals from Dandroid 2002 to create an autonomous entertaining robot.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

2010 Time-Space Odyssey

By now we settled into a place of our own with a garage. I even bought a drill. It seemed perfect to start robotics again. Surprisingly, in almost 10 years very little had changed in the world of robotics, especially for the home user. I had discovered some like minded people too on Meet-up and at the London Hackspace. I enjoyed the Meet-up, but the leader had moved out of town and so my support group was gone as fast as it came. One of the guys went to start his own robot hobby company.

The Arduino had taken off as a hobbyist platform, but my problem now was the time to learn and play in this area. I bought a Netduino 2 since I was programming in .Net and was impressed with the debugger integration. The Netduino is great, but there's much more routines available for the Ardunio. One thing about not having a main stream platform is that you have to go a little deeper to understand how to make things work.

Saturday, 3 January 2004

2004: The Break up

I was happy with my little robot project in 2003 except for the flimsy construction which would break apart in impact if it didn't detect a wall fast enough. I decided I would rebuild the robot with strength in mind. No loose parts and more metal were the plan. I collected a few parts, but without the tools and living in rented London flats, there was little I could do. I upgraded the OOPIC 2 to an OOPIC-R for better servo and sensor connectors, but that's about all that happened. The parts went into a box and moved with me four times without any progress.

Around this time, the Sony AIBO had come out which was what I was trying to create and I saw that very few people could enjoy my robot project with family and friends based in the USA. My interest in photography was re-kindled which fit well with my travel interest. I do admit that on a few occasions I'd need a distraction while on the road and would think of the next robot design, but little more came of it than looking at the packed up box.

Monday, 8 September 2003

Dandroid 2003 on video

We can now see the navigation system can decide if the robot should reverse out of a situation and re-evaluate or turn to avoid obstacles.

Saturday, 9 August 2003

Dandroid 2003: Muffin Box

By now I had moved out of the ARobot base with Stamp CPU and into the Cybot chassis with an OOPIC. The OOPIC was a huge step forward in being able to be object oriented and event driven. The Cybot chassis also made stacking levels easier and it could turn in place by moving one wheel forward with another in reverse at the same time.

Below we can see the Dandroid next to a stock Real Robots Cybot.

Thursday, 31 July 2003

Cybot chassis

The ARobot bases steered like a remote control car which required a turning radius. In our small kitchen, there was not much it could do and it got snagged too easily in the small living room as well. A kids magazine called Real Robots had a project where every month you'd get a part to build a robot called a Cybot. The initial base was exactly what I was after and it was dirt cheap too. I bought a few copies of the first three issues to get a chassis, 2 gear motors with wheels and a motor controller which could be hacked.