built by John Whitten

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Target Environment Locomotion Method
Indoors 4 Wheels
Sensors / Input Devices Actuators / Output Devices
Ultrasonic Ranging
IR Proximity Detection
Several CDS photodetectors
Front/Rear "Whisker" sensors
Bumpter sensors
Video Camera
Wheel shaft encoders
Drive motor feedback
3 Mercury tilt switches
operator switches
Articulated sensor head turret
Drive motor
R/C servo for steering
indicator lights
Control Method Power Source
Autonomous Battery
CPU Type Operating System
Multiple 68HC11's and an Intel 486DX/66 Linux
Programming Lanuage Weight
Time to build Cost to build
URL for more information
Gadget is based on an R/C truck chassis and uses several 68HC11's for the low level control functions and a 486DX/66 8Mb RAM 1Gb Hdisk Linux system for higher level functions. The project is still currently underway.

First of all I wouldn't recommend using a 4-wheel base for use as a robot. There are numerous navigational problems that you encounter when doing that. Tank-type treads, three-wheeled, or walking robots are much better (IMHO).

Secondly, building Ultrasonic Ranging is VERY easy (though it took me a month or two to work it all out) and you can do it accurately and reliably for less than $25 in parts (I'm assuming you have NO parts in your junkbox and buy virtually everything from some obnoxious retailer).

Thirdly power is a major problem. With small robots or robots that don't have as much in the way of electronics, this may not be so bad. I have a 486 PC with a 2-1/2" hard disk and so the power gets sucked down pretty quickly. I'd like to replace the motherboard with one out of a laptop. I think that would relieve the problem quite a bit... anybody have a nice 486 laptop they'd like to donate to the project ??? :-)

Overall I'm very pleased with the development of the robot so far. As I mentioned earlier, the project is still in the works though and I'm having a ball working out all the details. Not to mention all the new friends I've met while perusing the newsgroups and web sites looking for ideas and stuff.

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