Older blog entries for mikegotis (starting at number 6)

The latest AutomaTron designs and working prototype completed includes the PLC "head," fabricated from a PIC-based 16 I/O 16C57 computer affectionately know as the "Electrical Cabinet." It includes a Grayhill 96 series black matrix keyboard, 4 x 5 matrix encoder, and low drain green LCD for display. The PLC commands a memory slave board with a series of operating screens, programmed on-the-fly or presaved.

I built a tiny PLC to control X-Y-Z axes driven by hobby servos interfaced to a miniature SSC. Multiple axes can achieve singular or plural states. Expansion is provided for up to 8 axes. An autonomous Light Curtain ALC safety feature is made from infrared beam detectors wired to the MCU. Breaking the transmitter-receiver beam results in safety effects, which are hardware (and/or software) programmed to OSHA regulations. ALC options halt the zaxis RAM, return the RAM to a previous state, RAM home, or move to a new location.

4 Jul 2002 (updated 6 Jul 2002 at 15:26 UTC) »

re: AUTOMATRON project. I designed MMOS, Micro Motion Operating System. It uses higher ordered modular code snippets to accomplish motion control. MMOS commands talk to the servos, LC, SSC, LCD, LED, EPROM, RAM, MCU and DGU. The OS modular aspect includes comment featuring, which makes programming by a succession of authors feasible and easy. This section is embedded in MMOS as SDE - Self Documentation Engine. MMOS code is burned into EEPROM via an Apple Macintosh or IBM compatible computer.

I have the Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer or POV-Ray for short, up and running on the Macintosh iBook, and I'm running adaptation tests to see how well it can serve as robotic humanoid simulation software. "This is a ray tracer, computer graphics software that can create stunning photo-realistic computer-generated images and animations. POV-Ray is Freeware, meaning you can download it and use it at no cost. It runs on many different operating systems, including Mac OS, Windows, DOS, Linux, FreeBSD, Sun OS, VMS, Irix, etc." The main site is at http://mac.povray.org/

I noticed another 20 new humanoid walking robots on the web today, and saw some very elaborate walkers made with Legos - I'd recommend looking at the links found here: http://www.geocities.com/technicpuppy/ lblinks.html ...also looked for 3D animation software to experiment with various walking gate simulations. The Juice - Physics-Based Skeletal Animation Workshop found at http://www.natew.com/juice/ was the result.

The humanoid project is going very good. I now have a lab set up here in the Republic of China. I found a parts store within reach by bus. It has lots of surplus and new parts - picked up a large solderless breadboard, amplifiers, several motors, LEDs, resistor packs, tiny nuts & bolts, 2 keyboards, miniature switches, and tiny speakers. They have one of the largest breadboards I've ever seen, - it looks like it's 3 x 3 feet! I also found 2 hardware stores close to my new home, perfect for robot parts & materials.

24 Jun 2002 (updated 26 Jun 2002 at 07:06 UTC) »

Just arrived back from my Japan trip to Robotrex and RoboCup. Honda's ASIMO captured great attention, walking and dancing with fluid motions. One interesting fact is that hobbyists in Japan who have created walking robots have flourished! Every day you can find new web sites from Japan. Robots from HONDA, SONY, FUJITSU, and others are the stimulus.

Here's a great tip forwarded to me by my good friend Koji Yoshino in Japan - the following translation service will help you to read Japanese: http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr

NOTE: I've used the altavista engine and it works well. Sometimes it's loaded down by heavy use and you have to wait for it to free up. It also helps to know some Japanese thinking when reading the translations. For example, a word like photometrics may appear as "reading candle." Many new Japanese words are created by connecting combinations of ancient symbols. Finally, I recommend installing the Japanese language drivers and enabling Japanese fonts for browsing.

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