Older blog entries for psychlotron (starting at number 9)

20 Feb 2006 (updated 20 Feb 2006 at 22:33 UTC) »

I posted a screenshot of my current Spidar Sequencer. This software will allow you to sequence up to 16 servos with four positions each. I am currently giving this program a bit of a makeover though. The next version will look more like a Yamaha RM1X sequencer. I am modelling the software after this music sequencer for a few reasons. First of all, I am trying to carry over some of the cool things about musical editing to robotic movement sequencing because I have experience with that. Second, the RM1X and other similar sequencers are pretty intuitive pieces of equipment to use. Therefore, it should be pretty easy to open the Spidar Sequencer and start using it. Hopefully, it will be something that can be used for more than just my robot.

13 Feb 2006 (updated 13 Feb 2006 at 22:58 UTC) »

I posted a video on my site that shows my robot standing up. I just finished the body, which is made of foamed pvc, and attached the legs. I added some springs to simulate muscles and help balance the load. Next I'm going to put a second level on the body and try over-volting the servos a bit for some extra strength. Oh yeah, the DS in the video does nothing...just got done with some MKDS that's all.

I assembled Spidar's legs today. I have a video posted of one of the legs in motion. It's a bit jerky, but that's due to my unsteady hand on the controls(a set of VB sliders). Next, I will be cutting a body out of plexiglass and attaching the legs. Then the real fun will begin! My website for Spidar has a bit of a new look, too.

I've finished most of the code for my Servo Sequencer, which is based on a music sequencer and sampler. The program allows you to create four-position sequences for up to sixteen channels(servos). These groups of sequences can be assigned to six different buttons, like a sampler. This allows you to make walk, run, sequences. I also received my leg brackets in the mail today, which I will be assembling soon.

18 Jan 2006 (updated 18 Jan 2006 at 22:21 UTC) »

Today I ordered aluminum brackets for my leg assembly, which will have 3 degrees of freedom. I have been working on writing 3 different sequencing programs to decide which layout and design makes it easier for me to develope locomotion sequences. I'm waiting on the legs to get here to cut out the body. I have also been testing motion sequences with the two prototype legs held up with wheels in the front and back. I have studied the gait of dogs and horses so far and plan to study the movement of spiders and insects as well. Spidar

11 Jan 2006 (updated 11 Jan 2006 at 21:04 UTC) »

Today I made two prototype legs. Each of them has 3 servos. Two servos act as a shoulder and thigh and one acts as a knee. The hip and thigh are currently held together by several cable ties and this assembly connects to the knee/calf with a threaded pushrod and servo attachments. I am controlling the prototypes with a Yost Engineering Servo Center. It only took me about thirty minutes to learn the protocol, characters sent through the serial port, and write a controller program in VB. My next steps will be making a sequencing program and cutting a plexiglass body.

9 Jan 2006 (updated 12 Jan 2006 at 14:22 UTC) »

I have a simple site up for my project. I have some screenshots and an avi (done in milkshape) of how my leg assemblies will work. Spidar

My Design Lab, a.k.a. Senior Project, class started this week. I have two quarters to create my project. I think that I am going to do a six-legged servo walker instead of three wheels. There is one more secret part to the locomotion but I can't let that out yet! I'll have an estimated timeline and link to some 3D models next week.

15 Dec 2005 (updated 15 Dec 2005 at 14:30 UTC) »

For the next two quarters I have a Design Lab class which is a Senior project for the Computer Engineering Technology Degree at my school, Shawnee State University. In case your wondering, Computer Engineering Technology is a blend of Computer Engineering and Computer Science. It's a really good mix for robotics, which is why I chose SSU. Anyway, I'm going to do a wi-fi controlled robot that I've dubbed "Wibot". My plan, for now, is to use a mini itx board (easy to add storage and wifi) for the main controller and atmel chips for pwm and sensors. I'll probably use some flavor of linux for the os and make a user interface with glade. For locomotion I'm working with a 3-wheeled dc-motor controlled system. That may change, though, as I am very interested in using a dual tank track system. If anyone has ever used wifi to control a robot I'd appreciate suggestions. I'll get a project site up soon with more details and pics.

I recently added distance sensing ability to a Yost Engineering BugBrain that I built a few years ago. I wanted it to have some sort of vision capability so I added a Sharp GP2Y0A21YK ir distance sensor. It was pretty easy to add, just six solder points. All you have to do is connect power, ground, and and I/O pin which I connected to the expansion connector. I used the built in BasicX getADC() function to find the voltage output by the detector. The ir detector outputs a voltage between around 0.5-2.5V which corresponds to distances between 10cm and 80cm. I used the graph from the data sheet to make a look-up table which I use to compare the voltage and find the distance. This works pretty well and now my BugBrain walks around, "sees" objects, and avoids them. I've got some pics but I'm a noob to posting here (although I've been reading for quite a while) so I can't post the project yet. I've got a really sweet project coming up that I'd like to post. It's my Senior Project for school (Shawnee State University) but I'll post more on that later.

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