Remulac

built by R. Steven Rainwater

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Target Environment Locomotion Method
Outdoors, all terrain 4 Wheels
Sensors / Input Devices Actuators / Output Devices
2 ultrasonic range finders
keyboard for input
2 DC drive motors
steering servo
2 sensor array servos
Control Method Power Source
Autonomous Battery
CPU Type Operating System
Intel 8051 None
Programming Lanuage Weight
C about 25 lbs
Time to build Cost to build
two months (weekends and evenings) Didn't keep track
URL for more information
http://www.dprg.org/nl_june97.html
Comments
Remulac orginally used an HC11 CPU with an embedded forth interpreter. Forth proved a bit too limiting as well as time-consuming (because you have to hold the code up to a mirror to read it), so I switched to an Intel 8051-based processor and compiled C code. The robot was based on a chassis for a Kyosho USA-1 R/C truck but has a substantial number of modifications. Many of the plastic suspension components were replaced with titanium equivalents and the stock springs were replaced with much stronger ones to support the weight of three large gel-cells. The enclosure on top, which I'm often asked about, was obtained at The Container Store for less than a dollar. It was originally intended as some sort of plastic bag dispenser.

A sensor platform is located at the front of the robot with two Polaroid sonar units. Each unit sweeps through a 120 degree area covering roughly the front and side of the robot. The sonar implementation earned a Most Sophisticated Robot Certificate at the 1997 DPRG Roborama.

The robot has 4-wheel drive provided by two DC drive motors and 4-wheel steering provided by a really hefty futaba servo. One of the reasons for the weird suspension was to allow the robot to move over most of the terrain that humans do during an average day - including curbs and stairs. It didn't quite succeed with the stairs but can drive over curbs and most other obstacles without a problem.

At present Remulac has been resting comfortably below a workbench in the NCC lab for over a year. At some point I intend to pull the thing out and do some more work on it. I need to replace the heavy batteries with something lighter. The servo used for steering also needs a few repairs to get the robot back in working order.

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