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Name: Andrew Smith
Member since: 2006-01-16 08:39:47
Last Login: 2009-02-28 11:20:47

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Homepage: asmith.id.au


I primarily work with database systems but also spend as much time as I can find delving into artificial intelligence and robotics. As far as skills are concerned, I am proficient with SQL, Common Lisp, C/C++, Linux and assembly language (lately on PIC microcontrollers). I've made two robots over the course of the last few years. Gir was a test platform for my experiments with digital radio telemetry and was constructed with Fischertechnik and custom built electronics. Now I am building Ally which is a 30cm square mini-rover. Ally is big enough and powerful enough to perform a number of useful tasks and should be able to support a variety of configurations. I am generally to be found on the #robotics IRC channel of freenode.net, along with a small group of hard core robotics tinkerers and professionals. If you have an active interest in robotics please drop by for a chat.

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The first version of the robot simulation software that I've been writing is producing useful output. There is an animation of the previously posted finite state machine driving a simulated robot around a small toy world on my website at http://asmith.id.au/robot-simulator.html Will be posting the source code for it too, once it has been cleaned up and documented a bit better.

Having done a fair bit of testing and refining on the finite state machine code, I've posted it on http://asmith.id.au/state-machine.html along with the definition for the diagram posted yesterday, and a sample script that runs on it. I guess the next step is to create a simple robot simulator to go with it.

There is now a page containing sample output from my Finite State Machine http://asmith.id.au/state-machine.html software.

In addition to being able to execute the FSM in a simulation, this program can export the FSM definition as a Graphviz file to produce a very useful graphical rendition in various formats such as Scalable Vector Graphics.

The main goal here is to be able to compile the FSM into efficient assembly language code for the PIC16F88 microcontroller and that's going to take a little longer. I'll be making all the source code available once that is working properly.

Hi everyone. I've made considerable revisions to my website at http://asmith.id.au and added a great deal more content for robotics and hydroponics.

Lately I've been working on a bootstrap loader for PIC16F88 microcontrollers, and a simple real-time operating system to go with it. All the common lisp and PIC assembler source code for the hardware programmer and bootstrap loader is available from the website now.

A related project to create an effective very high level programming language for PICs, based on finite state machines, is also well under way. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the topic.

10 Feb 2006 (updated 4 Mar 2006 at 12:01 UTC) »

I am curious to know what software everyone uses for capturing circuit schematics for their robotics projects. I've tried quite a few different packages over the years and have never been particularly pleased with any of them. Of course there are still many that I haven't seen yet. Do any of you have any recommendations, especially for open source software to do this?

Yesterday I decided to try an alternative approach and created a schematic of a slightly modified version of David Tait's classic serial PIC programmer using scalable vector graphics. SVG is the up and coming web technology for creating high quality 2D graphics on web pages. You can see the results of this first test here http://asmith.id.au/robotics-pic16f84.html converted to a gif file, since most web browsers don't properly handle SVG yet. The SVG source file for this can be downloaded from http://asmith.id.au/files/serpic.svg. You may or may not be able to view the SVG file directly in your browser.

PS Just noticed and fixed the broken link to the SVG file.

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