24 Feb 2007
(updated 24 Feb 2007 at 16:48 UTC) »
First of all, I want to key you in on what I found in
Phoenix where I work yesterday - the Mcdonalds Robosapien
Adventure meal! If your thing is those crazy humanoid
bipeds, the minuature one at Mcdonalds will surely excite
Now, onto our project. We got our parts in the mail
night for our PicBot 5 program, Docking Logic. This will
be the most extensive, lavishly illustrated project yet in
this series, which have been recieved very well so far in
the world wide robotics community Im happy to say. HEre is
the outline for what we will be researching in "Docking
1. The Beacon sensor will be the venerable but getting
obsolete Panasonic PNA4602, which runs at 38.5 khz. This
will not interfere with the IR Prox sensors, which are the
IS471 which run at a very different 8 khz. First we will
determine the range for various IR LED combinations at the
2. Next, we will evaluate using a omni cone reflector
the reciever and determine range and cone configuration.
3. Directional sensor design for homing on the
4. Robot path tracking from current position to beacon
docking. I assume it will be some sort of zig zag S curve.
5. Beacon beam path aquisition. In other words, what
do when we encounter the docking beacon beam.
6. Charging base docking envelope. How accurately
stop at the beacon in a position ready to charge?
7. STopping at the beacon/charging base in the exact
without hitting it.
8. Electrical contacts for the determined docking
9. Error correction if docking is unsuccessful. In
words, adding some AI to the docking proceedure so the
robot can react more intelligently to mis docking issues.
10. Spin Nav docking. (looking for the beacon with a
photocell at the bottom of a tube)
11. Maybe docking with an omni sensor. (the Roomba
this rather dubious method)
Note that I wont be covering the actual chargin proceedure
yet, thats the Picbot 6 project!
Anyway, its going to be the most exciting project yet,
should fill a huge gap in the knowledge base for online
tutorials on a subject that is often considered way too
difficult to implement in a home robot - self charging.