18 Mar 2008 RoboDo   » (Journeyer)

RoboDo Seeds

I'm using my blog as a notebook... to keep track of the ever changing idea that may one day become real. I suspect that what I write is so far below what some here are doing that it seems laughable. Much of it is probably unworkable, too complex, too simple, or just plain wrong. Writing this stuff helps me understand by exposing what I don't understand.

I got sucked into this biped robot thing when I stumbled upon a video from one of the Robo-One competitions. It was rather amusing, actually. The 'bots stood (sometimes) flat-footed, in a normal standing stance, and sometimes flailed away. As often as not, their own exertions caused them to topple. Huge lags between moves showed serious flaws in the control scheme. THIS was the current world standard?

My inner engineer recoiled in horror. A quick look at the bots themselves revealed that most of them were unable to assume a proper fighting stance. What the world needs, thought I, was a robot that can learn Kung Fu.

The new bot, dubbed RoboDo, would need to have an autonomous fighting mode, and this itself presented a problem. Did I really want to create a 2' high terminator?

To win, my bot would have to lock onto a target, close to striking range, then deliver an attack... all under its own command. Clearly, safeguards would have to be devised.

It should be possible to place the fighting routines on a flash card, and only insert the card during actual competitions or when "training" the bot. (Ok, a 2' bot with very limited battery life isn't going to take over the world, but we don't want him mauling the dog.)

So it seems possible.

Mechanically, the bot isn't all that difficult. I have most of the details more or less worked out, and am confident I could build it. I don't have the funds to build it all at once, and frankly, don't have the expertise required to program it.

But I can start somewhere and learn as I go. I have an overall idea of where I want to take this project. I'll probably end up getting one USB servo controller and a few servos and building an arm or leg or something.

Maybe I'm just not smart enough to be intimidated by this.

more later

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