We are contining the building and learning about our robot… At this point we have a microcontroller installed on the robot. The mocrocontrollers used is the arduino uno board, as pictured below… With this microcontroller we will be able to mak our robot do anything we would like it to do as long as we can code it. The actual building of the robot was fun and gives you a good understanding of how the robot works not just as a whole, but also as sum of its parts… This is a simple robot so the builing of it is not difficult or time consuming. Just a few screws here and there and it was built. As long as you are shown how to build it anyone could build this robot, but it takes and engineer to make it functional!!

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For the class we are going to use the ATMEL’s AVR microcontroller. There is much that makes this unique among other microcontrollers, one being that the architecture is specifically designed to work efficiently with the programming languages c and assembly. These languages are going to be the goal to use when we are programming our robots for the eventual chess game. This architecture that is used by these microcontrollers is called the Harvard Architecture, which with physically separate storage and signal pathways for instructions and data. Also these microcontrollers use picoPower which acheives an impressive 500nA @ 1.8V with RTC running and 9 nA in power-down sleep mode. The micocontroller also uses RISC, which is anything but a risky move, it stands for Reduced instruction set computing… I haven’t used this microcontoller yet, but it sounds ideal for such a project as robot programming as needed for this class…

For our class the next step in the robotic art process is to use Dr. Becker’s library in hava to simulate the ideas we create from our processing. Dr. Becker created a library for learning how to program in Java, but can be very usefull in simulation for this project. I used the Dr. Becker library to simulate the processing I came up with in processing (previously posted). Dr. Becker’s program is very useful for learning how to program in Java, and the fact that its using robots really helps in the learning process.

 

For our robotics class we were assigned to use a progamming language called processing to come up with an idea for our robot to draw out with ink a little later on in the semester. The first part was to make a grid… this grid is supposed to represent a chess board, but for this art project it will only be for the 4×4 grid and not the full 8×8…  The size of each square are 60 pixels each, but can be changed at any time… The next step is to come up with the design for the robot to make on the grid. The disign I came up with is not to complicated for the robot to do, but will look kinda cool when the robot draws the maze on the grid… This may be the design my team uses for the design or maybe not, we shall see…

 

The eventual goal of the robot class is to use these robots to play chess on a 8X8 gridded floor just as traditional chess is played. One issue that arrises from that is getting the robot to be able to make it to the center of the current square it is intending to occupy. It is not good enough just to measure the size of the squares and just use PMW(Pulse Width Modulation) because there could be errors such as not making it to the middle of the square. Reasons that it may not make the center could be something as simple a pebble on the ground, or even a strong breeze. This error could add up eventually leading the robot to not even make it to the square it needs to at all.

There are two solutions that can be attempted. Right now the game is set up with walls around each side of the game board, and 4 beacons(that communicate various information to the moving chess robots). The walls and the beacons can be used to make sure the robots make it to the center of the square… The walls can be used for ultra sound to determine the distance that the robot is from a particular wall to determine whether or not it was in the center of the square it is intending to occupy. This is of course, not good enough tho, the robot does not know where it is supposed to be on the board, but this can help. The beacons are what will make sure that the robots are in the square they are supposed to be in. In order to make sure that the robots are going to be in the center of the square they are currently occupying is to use triangulation with two of the beacons and the robot in question. (From Wikipedia) “Triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly (trilateration). The point can then be fixed as the third point of a triangle with one known side and two known angles. ” (From Wikipedia) Unfortunately, even with this there is still no garuntee that the robot will end up in the center of the desired square (a reason could be instumentation is not quite sensitive enough for the small distances, etc…), but it will get it close, and most likely some other tricks will have to be used to perfect it.

Building the robot…
 
Everyone in the class was given a robot set. The actual building of the robot is quite a fun part of the whole experience, you haven’t run into any difficulty yet, and you’re sitting there imagining all that you can accomplish with the little guy your constucting. There are many considerations when building: all the parts need to fit and line up perfectly, what kind of batteries are gonna power the robot, where such things as the microcontroller are going to go, etc… All in all there was not to much difficulty in building the robot beyond a few twists of a screwdriver and a little patience with little screws. It makes you wanna start bring your new creation to life…   
 
 

This was taken while building the robot