5 Oct 2002 nevyn   » (Journeyer)

Well, Hi :)

As this is my first diary entry, maybe I should mention what I have been doing 'til this point.

First my research. This is into evolutionary hardware - specifically the placement of sensors on a mobile robot. A collection of robots (controlled via wireless by a computer) all try to find the most food they can while moving uses up energy. If two robots bump into each other (and if conditions such as their energy levels are acceptable), they may mate. Potential offspring from these matings are added to a pool and randomly selected when a physical robot becomes available (an old robot dies of lack of food, being poisoned by eating the wrong stuff or of old age, for example). The idea is that the robots better at finding food will mate more often and that the robots better at finding food consistantly do so because they have a better setup of sensors. Natural Selection :)

As for my other stuff, I have built a number of small robots using the MIT Handyboard controller (although I use ASM, not IC) and lego (fantastic stuff for prototyping), including a simple walking robot and a turtle (named Emily) I entered for a quite recent drawing robot competition in the elc eng dept. at my uni (uni of birmingham, uk). I came second (well, Emily was built of lego, unlike many of the other entries...).

I am also involved in developing new technologies for the Intelligent Robotics course run by my dept (Computer Science) for undergraduate students. Recent projects have included writing a custom Firmware for the MIT Handyboard, writing and building USB controller / expansion stuff for the Handyboard and linking the Handyboard up to pc104 and pda systems with webcams. Information on all of this, including pcb designs, the firmware and usb drivers etc. should be available in the near future (not sure where but I'll post when I know)

I think that's enough for now :)

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