we made great progress this weekend on our Docking Logic program. After determining the range and current requirements for detection with a PNA4602 last week, we next constructed an "Omni Cone" sensor. This is a reflective cone which directs the light from all directions to a single sensor below, and indicates the proximity to the charging base, but not its direction.
It took five pages of hand written mathematics to define how to make such a cone, and how to make one from a flat piece of reflective material starting with a circle with a pie shaped cutout.
Once the cone was made, we place the sensor under it at the calculated distance, and confirmed its optical properties by shining a laser horizontally at the inverted cone, and the beam hit square on to the center of the sensor, from all angles around the cone! Ill of coarse be posting this set of calculations so you can make an omni sensor for your robot as well in the final write up.
Next, we are working with directional sensors, and how to home in with perfect accuracy on the charging beacon.