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devilDroid
05-04-2008, 06:53 PM
Hi Guys~ I've been in manic design mode, trying to decide upon my next robotics project.

I keep trying to figure out a purpose. First it was an RC lawnmower, then it was a wheel-chair-based follow-me bot. I do have a couple of old wheelchairs that I could use, but I think I'll postpone whatever project they turn into for a while.

I do need to work on my understanding of electronics. That could be a purpose in and of itself. However, a simple electronics learning lab would probably be a prudent prerequisite.

My only two real requirements are being able to program the bot with Microsoft Visual Studio/C# and that it be autonomous. (Not really interested in the RC thing.)

Aesthetically, I keep coming back to humanoids, probably the least "useful" of the possible robot designs. Still though, I was completely mesmerized the first time that I saw a video of a Robonova-1 getting up by itself.

I've spent most of the day looking at different kits: Bioloid, Lynxmotion BRAT and Servo Erector Set, and, of course, the Robonova-1 (sooo sexy). I really like the concept of a pc-controlled robot using Phidgets, though.

So, back to my original question: Is there a way to make a humanoid out of Phidgets? I assume that I'd need some sort of on-board, hand-held computer or pda for brains?

Of course, I'm open to suggestions. I mean, this *is* the manic, pre-purchase phase of research and design. :)

Oh, and Adrenalynn, I sincerely appreciate your patience with my apparent ADD. :p

Eric
05-04-2008, 07:17 PM
I will take a shot at this question... The answer is yes, you can make one out of Phidgets. But you need to ask yourself first, what is the goal? I am making my project (which is essentially a humanoid) with Phidgets, but I do this because I am trying out some ideas I have not seen in commercial products. If you are simply making a humanoid for having an bot that runs on it's own, you may want to seriously look at one of the kits (like Kondo). If you are doing R&D and doing lots of customized stuff, then Phidgets are great for rapid development, but can be expensive. (The trade off of time vs. cost). My suggestion is always, KISS... Keep it simple... If you can reuse other's products, use them and spend more time working on cool stuff to do with your bot.

Alex
05-04-2008, 07:35 PM
There would be a way to make a humanoid out of Phidgets, but to tell you the truth it isn't really a feasible idea for a couple reasons.



Since Phidgets require a constant USB connection to a USB Host of some sort, in other words, you'll need a significant sized onboard "brain" to control & power them.
The largest servo controller that Phidgets makes is a 4-motor servo. The bare minimum # of servos for a humanoid is 16-18. That'd mean that you'd need at least 4 motor controllers (with 4 USB and power cables) on your bot. Also, these boards are designed with the humanoid in mind - they do not have vertical servo ports.

devilDroid
05-04-2008, 07:55 PM
Thanks for the speedy replies, guys. I'm all about the brutal truth. ;)

I'm looking at Kondo now... Are there any other humanoid kits that can run on their own?

Eric
05-04-2008, 08:28 PM
Check out another great post under Humaniods, Walkers and Crawlers. It's called Robot reviews and guides... i think... it had this link...
http://www.robotservicesgroup.com/ChartPrice.html
Should be VERY useful (and other links on that page) to tell which robots do what for what price.

devilDroid
05-04-2008, 08:44 PM
Awesome. Thanks!

Matt
05-04-2008, 09:08 PM
Personally, I'm against allowing women access to any technology beyond basic wooden mechanical devices, but it seems I'm alone on this. :D

Phidgets aren't really advised due to the reasons Alex mentioned. Too much bulk, cost, and overhead. If cost wasn't an issue I'd point you toward the Speecy's (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=1126&highlight=speecy%27s) robot since it has a wireless link to the PC that allows programmers to do what they want with it. However, it's a really pricey bot and there is really no community around it yet.

I wonder, could you build a humanoid using the lynxmotion stuff and the SSC-32 and then use the Bluesmirf (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/sparkfun-bluetooth-modem-bluesmirf-silver.aspx)? That should get you a wireless bot that could be coded to from .NET.

Alex
05-04-2008, 09:46 PM
Personally, I'm against allowing women access to any technology beyond basic wooden mechanical devices, but it seems I'm alone on this.DevilDroid, join us in Help Build Skynet (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/group.php?groupid=2) and we'll all work together to rid ourselves of that meatbag (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/group.php?groupid=3)traitor Matt, muhahaha:D


I wonder, could you build a humanoid using the lynxmotion stuff and the SSC-32 and then use the Bluesmirf (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/sparkfun-bluetooth-modem-bluesmirf-silver.aspx)? That should get you a wireless bot that could be coded to from .NET.

Actually... for a meatbag, I think you may be on to something... Sure... I think that may be a good move. Maybe you're a spy for us working with the Meatbag's (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/group.php?groupid=3)?

Wingzero01w
05-04-2008, 11:59 PM
Building a humanoid out of lynxmotion brackets might but a good idea since it would be super expandable. Im not completely positive but i think lynxmotion might want to make brackets for humanoids/bipeds specifically. Though, the bioloid is also a really good choice since the servos that come with it are really nice, and crustcrawler is making brackets for them. Another really good robot to look at around the KHR/robonova range is the KT-X by kumotek.

devilDroid
05-05-2008, 07:06 AM
Personally, I'm against allowing women access to any technology beyond basic wooden mechanical devices, but it seems I'm alone on this. :D

Awesome. I whittle up a pair of clogs for my bot so that he can stomp your bony butt, skin wad.:mad:

devilDroid
05-05-2008, 09:00 AM
Oh, and thanks for the input. ;)

DresnerRobotics
05-05-2008, 10:01 AM
I would think it would be more space/cost efficient to task something like an SSC-32 for servo control rather than 4x phidgets servo boards. Wouldn't truly be a pure phidgets bot at that point, but you could easily control the ssc-32 from the phidgets i/o boards

Matt
05-05-2008, 10:21 AM
but you could easily control the ssc-32 from the phidgets i/o boards

How do you mean? None of the phidgets have serial output.

Alex
05-05-2008, 10:46 AM
EDIT: Whoops, just realized me and Ty were talking about the same thing.

Still though, the rest of this post should help out a bit. Phidget servo controllers are sweet, don't get me wrong, but at 72.74 for each 4-motor controller, it's not exactly cheaper than an SSC-32.

With regards to space efficiency, it is nice that you can mount the Phidgets on top of each other, but look at the way that servos plug into them:

http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/Controls/i/is.aspx?path=/images/Pimages/C-100-SV-P1001.jpg

Horizontal ports are not exactly efficient when designing a humanoid. The vertical style servo ports on the SSC-32 is pretty much the norm for humanoid robot controllers:

http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/Controls/i/is.aspx?path=/images/Pimages/C-100-SV-SSC-32.jpg

EDIT: The Phidget servo controller does have a significant advantage over the SSC-32 because it has an entire .NET API built for it. But, if you study up on the SerialPort (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.io.ports.serialport.aspx) Class from the Serial.IO.Ports namespace in .NET and take a look at the SSC-32 serial port commands in the book that comes with it, you can easily create a .NET wrapper class that you will allow you to create high-level methods & events for it:D

DresnerRobotics
05-05-2008, 11:22 AM
How do you mean? None of the phidgets have serial output.

My mistake then, I was under the impression the I/O boards could do serial. Can they do TTL? Or is it simply an on/off digital switch?

I wish Phidgets made a higher channel servo controller, I could even deal with a 16 servo controller...

Alex
05-05-2008, 11:45 AM
I was under the impression the I/O boards could do serial. Can they do TTL? Or is it simply an on/off digital switch?


Nope, all of the digital outputs on the 8/8/8 or 0/16/16 is just on/off, not TTL or serial.


I wish Phidgets made a higher channel servo controller, I could even deal with a 16 servo controller...

Don't we all;)

DresnerRobotics
05-05-2008, 11:46 AM
Tell them to get on that! :p

Matt
05-05-2008, 01:00 PM
Dave forwarded me a great link from over at Lynxmotion that shows how to use the bluesmirf to make the SSC-32 wireless.
http://www.lynxmotion.com/images/html/build117.htm

PS: Zenta's crawler (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=1352) uses the SSC-32 with a bluesmirf

DresnerRobotics
05-05-2008, 01:11 PM
^ Yar, both J5 and my micro-quad were setup that way at one point. Pretty straight forward to do, as long as your bluetooth dongle works correctly (had massive driver issues with the dongle I bought from sparkfun)

Adrenalynn
05-05-2008, 01:26 PM
I use a cheapie ebay bluetooth dongle that runs like $5-$7 on eBay. The real key is the BlueSoleil software - it seems to be all that and a proverbial bag of chips.

DresnerRobotics
05-05-2008, 01:34 PM
I use a cheapie ebay bluetooth dongle that runs like $5-$7 on eBay. The real key is the BlueSoleil software - it seems to be all that and a proverbial bag of chips.

Yes, and at the time that I bought my dongle, Sparkfun was shipping two different types of dongles- one with bluesoleil and the other with widcomm software. I got the widcomm one and ended up in a mess... basically each time I tried to connect using the supplied drivers, my computer would BSOD. This happened on 4 different PCs I tried it on. Went to go update the drivers and it told me I was using unlicensed hardware, ended up having to hack some driver package to get around that.

Wasn't fun, and in the end I managed to snap off my dongle at the usb connection, went out and bought a random one at Fry's and had no issues with that one.

devilDroid
05-06-2008, 08:01 AM
Thanks for all of the input, guys. I really appreciate it.

devilDroid
05-06-2008, 09:57 AM
Could I buy the Lynxmotion BRAT (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/4884-BRAT-Biped.aspx), which includes the SSC-32, then add a torso and arms to it later, when I had more money?

darkback2
05-06-2008, 10:34 AM
I had a brat running using 2 phidget 4 servo controllers. I'm considering making a hexapod using 6 of them. The main problem I've found is cost. Your going to need super strong servos to hold up a computer...though I'm using a sony vaio vgn-180ux so its not that bad. You could also look into a wireless USB transmitter. Basically you could do it...its just going to be super expensive.

DB

Adrenalynn
05-06-2008, 10:54 AM
Never one to discourage experimentation, but...

Holding-up the weight of a PC with a hexapod is a different ball-game to building a biped. Biped's are even more demanding...

When you start building up and having arms reaching out, and such, balance becomes crucial. You're going to need to figure out your gyroscope(s) at some point, and their programming depending upon your controller. Keeping it lighter (rather than heavier as Darkback was talking about) is going to be key.

The full biped kits already take all these factors into account and have put a tremendous amount of engineering into making these work - as well as a tremendous amount of code.

It can most certainly be done - but it's a STEEP [and frequently expensive] learning curve.

I'm not the be-all-end-all biped expert around here. There are members of the community that that's pretty much all they do... But in my experience, custom building a biped is *expensive* no matter where you turn.

>> Oh, and Adrenalynn, I sincerely appreciate your patience with my apparent ADD

Robotics_Experimentation = ADD, near as I can tell. If I don't have at least a dozen projects on the whiteboard simultaneously - check my pulse. ;)

Alex
05-06-2008, 11:20 AM
Robotics_Experimentation = ADD, near as I can tell. If I don't have at least a dozen projects on the whiteboard simultaneously - check my pulse. ;)

That one is going down in the books. Too funny!

asbrandsson
05-06-2008, 12:14 PM
Hello,

It would be nice if there was a usb servo controller that could control 30 - 35 servos.

Asbrandsson

Adrenalynn
05-06-2008, 12:28 PM
Why not use a USB -> Serial converter and an SSC32?

[ ;) @ Alex]

devilDroid
05-06-2008, 01:05 PM
Could I buy the Lynxmotion BRAT (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/4884-BRAT-Biped.aspx), which includes the SSC-32, then add a torso and arms to it later, when I had more money?
I should clarify. I'm thinking about following Matt's idea of using Lynxmotion servos/brackets, the SSC-32, and BlueSMiRF in order to get wireless control with C#/.NET. I've dropped the Phidgets idea altogether.



When you start building up and having arms reaching out, and such, balance becomes crucial. You're going to need to figure out your gyroscope(s) at some point, and their programming depending upon your controller. Keeping it lighter (rather than heavier as Darkback was talking about) is going to be key.

The full biped kits already take all these factors into account and have put a tremendous amount of engineering into making these work - as well as a tremendous amount of code.

It can most certainly be done - but it's a STEEP [and frequently expensive] learning curve.

Ack. I thought I had brilliant idea for a few minutes there. :(

DresnerRobotics
05-06-2008, 01:12 PM
Could I buy the Lynxmotion BRAT (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/4884-BRAT-Biped.aspx), which includes the SSC-32, then add a torso and arms to it later, when I had more money?


Check out SN96's bratinator project: http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=1462

Movies towards the bottom of the first post show off what you're talking about here.

Adrenalynn
05-06-2008, 01:48 PM
From your link:
The PC board went through 5 prototypes after a bread board design, each one with improvements on the last. Some changes were just silkscreen errors, other changes were component routing errors and finally adding some component changes. The biggest improvement was the addition of the cap for the audio amp to provide more amplification. I used Eagle Cad to design my boards and BatchPCB.com to produce the fabs.

Steep learning curve there too, if you're not already into board fab. He's using a tilt sensor and his code appears to be Atom-based. More learning curve.

It's a wonderful project, and again, I don't mean to discourage. Just go into it eyes-open...

Matt
05-06-2008, 01:59 PM
You could use the BRAT with the SSC-32 and then add a serializer to do all your sensor input wireless back to the PC. Learning to walk is plenty of work without the arms and all that. Personally I'd be fascinated watching a pair of headless legs run around the room on their own. I think you would need tilt sensing (accelerometer) some FSR's on the feet and maybe some range sensors to see the environment. That's a nice little project right there.

Alex
05-06-2008, 02:09 PM
Didn't someone mention a while back that it is somehow possible to get feedback from an analog sensor with a SSC-32 controller?

Adrenalynn
05-06-2008, 02:14 PM
Why not? It has four analog inputs...

DresnerRobotics
05-06-2008, 02:25 PM
It's possible, its just not well documented. I think they have a thread or two on it on the lm boards, if I come across it again I'll link it here.

DresnerRobotics
05-06-2008, 02:26 PM
From your link:
The PC board went through 5 prototypes after a bread board design, each one with improvements on the last. Some changes were just silkscreen errors, other changes were component routing errors and finally adding some component changes. The biggest improvement was the addition of the cap for the audio amp to provide more amplification. I used Eagle Cad to design my boards and BatchPCB.com to produce the fabs.

Steep learning curve there too, if you're not already into board fab. He's using a tilt sensor and his code appears to be Atom-based. More learning curve.

It's a wonderful project, and again, I don't mean to discourage. Just go into it eyes-open...

Well, that description was regarding his 100% custom designed 'bot board' not required for a bluesmirf/ssc-32 controlled BRAT.

Adrenalynn
05-06-2008, 03:04 PM
From the printed manual (sorry - no obvious page numbers):

--------------
Read Analog Inputs:
VA VB VC VC <cr>

VA, VB, VC, VD reads the value on the input as analog. It returns a single byte with the 8-bit (binary) value for the voltage on the pin.

When the ABCD inputs are used as analog inputs the internal pullup is disabled. The inputs are digitally filtered to reduce the effect of noise. The filtered values will settle to their final values within 8mS of a change. A return value of 0 represents 0vdc. A return value of 255 represents +4.98vdc. To convert the return value to a voltage multiply by 5/256. At power-up the ABCD inputs are configured for digital input with a pullup. The first time a V* command is used, the pin will be converted to analog without pullup. The result of this first read will not return valid data.

Read Analog Input Example: "VA VB <cr>"

This example will return 2 bytes with the analog values of A and B. For example the voltage on Pin A is 2vdc and Pin B is 3.5vdc, the return value will be the bytes 102 (binary) and 179 (binary).
--------------

devilDroid
05-11-2008, 05:16 PM
You could use the BRAT with the SSC-32 and then add a serializer to do all your sensor input wireless back to the PC. Learning to walk is plenty of work without the arms and all that. Personally I'd be fascinated watching a pair of headless legs run around the room on their own. I think you would need tilt sensing (accelerometer) some FSR's on the feet and maybe some range sensors to see the environment. That's a nice little project right there.
That sounds perfect! Could you help me come up with a parts list? I need the list for research (want to make sure what I'm getting myself into) and for my budget proposal. ;)

Thanks again to everyone for all of your input.

devilDroid
05-12-2008, 10:55 AM
I've started a parts spreadsheet: http://www.devildroid.com/projects/bratDzn/bratParts_v1.xlsx

The prices are on the first sheet, with a breakdown of the brat and ssc-32 on the next two. You can see that I'm not sure on which accelerometer, force sensing resistors, and range sensors to get. Any suggestions?

Also, did I list all of the parts that I would need? I don't need a Bluetooth dongle if I have Bluetooth on my computer, right?

Thanks again.

Matt
05-12-2008, 11:23 AM
Hey :)

I can't open the sheet since my excel is too old or something, but that's okay. I've asked Dave and Alex to ring in since they will know the sensors better than I.

The serializer has analog inputs so that can handle FSR feedback using the phidget voltage divider. Dave should be able to tell you which accelerometer would be good. For distance sensors I think your choice will boil down to Sharp IR sensors or the maxbotix line.

DresnerRobotics
05-12-2008, 12:44 PM
You need to install the Office 2007 compatibility pack on your PC Matt ;)

Matt
05-12-2008, 02:10 PM
We just received word about the new Range Wizard (http://www.roboticsconnection.com/p-86-rangewizard-beta.aspx) board from Robotics Connection. This is a great addition to the serializer family and will solve all your ranging needs. It will be ready for sale late this week or next week over on their site. We will stock it here in our next order from them. Devil Droid, put that on your list ;)

Adrenalynn
05-12-2008, 03:33 PM
Paint me giddy, and ready to order - please keep us posted! This is PERFECT for my current project.

Now imagine that other thing tied into its serial port... ;)

devilDroid
05-13-2008, 07:03 AM
I can't open the sheet since my excel is too old or something, but that's okay.

Oh, sorry. Vista weirdness. http://www.devildroid.com/projects/bratDzn/bratParts_v1.xls

devilDroid
05-14-2008, 10:06 AM
We just received word about the new Range Wizard (http://www.roboticsconnection.com/p-86-rangewizard-beta.aspx) board from Robotics Connection. This is a great addition to the serializer family and will solve all your ranging needs. It will be ready for sale late this week or next week over on their site. We will stock it here in our next order from them. Devil Droid, put that on your list ;)
Will do. Thanks!

devilDroid
05-14-2008, 02:53 PM
Not to be a mOron but... Would I need to buy the SSC-32 Sequencer (http://www.lynxmotion.com/Product.aspx?productID=443&CategoryID=15) as an intermediary between C# .NET and the SSC-32?

Adrenalynn
05-14-2008, 03:07 PM
Nope. Not necessarily. The SSC32 can be run straight off the serial port. There's even another thread lurking around here with a pointer to a book that looks pretty good for dotNET serial communications.

The command structure over serial for the SSC32 is dirt simple and pretty human readable. It looks like:


# <ch> P<pulse-width> S<speed> T<time for move> <cr>

Example:



#7 P1850 S750 <cr> ' moves the servo on channel #7 to 1850uS at 750uS/sec

devilDroid
05-15-2008, 06:39 AM
Nope. Not necessarily. The SSC32 can be run straight off the serial port. There's even another thread lurking around here with a pointer to a book that looks pretty good for dotNET serial communications...
Kewl. Thanks!

devilDroid
05-16-2008, 10:28 AM
Would someone please help me choose an accelorometer/gyro? http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/c/3087-Accelerometers-Gyro.aspx

devilDroid
05-16-2008, 11:59 AM
Same question (which is best?) for force sensors: http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/c/2670-Force-Sensors-Pressure-Touch-Sensors.aspx

And is the Parallax Ping ))) (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/parallax-ping-ultrasonic-range-sensor.aspx) a good choice for the range sensor?

Any ideas when Trossen will have the RangeWizard for sale?

Matt
05-16-2008, 12:23 PM
Any ideas when Trossen will have the RangeWizard for sale?

I imagine in 2-4 weeks. You can always get one strait from Robotics Connection if you want one faster too. I know how impatient us robot geeks are ;)

devilDroid
05-16-2008, 01:10 PM
I imagine in 2-4 weeks. You can always get one strait from Robotics Connection if you want one faster too. I know how impatient us robot geeks are ;)
Heheh. I appreciate your understanding. I sooo want everything now now now. Just waiting to get some input on the accelerometer/gyro and force sensors...

Dave
05-16-2008, 01:34 PM
Would someone please help me choose an accelorometer/gyro? http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/c/3087-Accelerometers-Gyro.aspx

Take a look at the Kondo sensors. The documentation is in Japanese, but the basic specs are pretty clear. I like them because they are compact, and they have standard 3-pin servo-style pinout, so they can plug directly into an 8/8/8, Serializer, and most other popular robot controller and interface boards.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I've only played around with them a little bit, and I haven't personally used them in any robots. Our customers seem to like them though.


Same question (which is best?) for force sensors: http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/c/2670-Force-Sensors-Pressure-Touch-Sensors.aspx


Depends on what you want to do. Interlink FSR's are a relatively inexpensive solution, comparatively, and they're great if you're concerned more with presence detection that accurate force measurement. Flexiforce sensors are more accurate, but if you're just using the sensor to determine whether or not a foot is on the ground, or if a gripper is gripping something, an FSR will suffice.



And is the Parallax Ping ))) (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/parallax-ping-ultrasonic-range-sensor.aspx) a good choice for the range sensor?

It's good, but you have to rely on your own controller to time the return pulse, and thus calculate the distance. This is nice if you only have a digital input, provided that its sample rate is fast enough to pick up the return pulse. I believe the Serializer has a command that will handle this automatically. If you want to read the distance via an analog input or a serial input, I'd recommend one of the MaxSonar EZ sensors.

devilDroid
05-16-2008, 02:50 PM
Thanks Dave! So, the KRG-3 would be a good gyro? http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/4915-KRG-3-Gyroscopic-Sensor.aspx

Since I want the FSRs for a biped scout, how many would I need? 3 for each foot (forward bump, backward bump, and ground contact) or am I' over complicating things?

Analog input for the sonar sensor would be better, right?

Adrenalynn
05-16-2008, 03:15 PM
I've already called "dibs!" on their first RangeWizard.

Dave
05-16-2008, 03:41 PM
Thanks Dave! So, the KRG-3 would be a good gyro? http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/4915-KRG-3-Gyroscopic-Sensor.aspx


Yep. Keep in mind that this gyro measures angular acceleration, not angular speed. That trips some people up.


Since I want the FSRs for a biped scout, how many would I need? 3 for each foot (forward bump, backward bump, and ground contact) or am I' over complicating things?

Sounds reasonable. The bump sensors will probably come in handy, because the ultrasonics won't give you accurate information at close proximity.


Analog input for the sonar sensor would be better, right?

"Better" is an awfully subjective term. Analog is usually simpler, but analog inputs are a precious commodity on most controller boards.

Adrenalynn
05-16-2008, 06:41 PM
I'm workin' on that myself right now, Dave. Keep your eyes open for a reasonable-cost solution to that very opportunity. ;)

devilDroid
05-20-2008, 08:38 AM
Now that I (with a lot of help from you guys) have researched the Bluetooth option, I'd like to do the same for an onboard microcontroller. I realize that it will be more difficult to implement, but there's a certain appeal to having the little BRAT be fully autonomous. Also, I'd have to have an onboard microcontroller if I ever wanted to enter a future, built-up version of him into an autonomous humanoid competition.

Here's a tutorial for controlling the BRAT with Basic Atom Pro and Bot Board II: http://www.lynxmotion.com/images/html/build133.htm

Is there a Bot Board II (which is for 24 or 28 pin microcontrollers) equivalent for a Parallax Propellor (which is 40 or 44pin)? http://www.parallax.com/tabid/407/Default.aspx

It seems that, if I have to learn something new, it might as well be the latest and greatest. The downside, of course, is that there's probably less documentation out there for it.

LinuxGuy
05-20-2008, 10:42 AM
Sounds reasonable. The bump sensors will probably come in handy, because the ultrasonics won't give you accurate information at close proximity.
What do you consider close? The PING will give reliable readings down to 2 cm.

8-Dale

devilDroid
05-20-2008, 11:12 AM
What do you consider close? The PING will give reliable readings down to 2 cm.

8-Dale
Awesome. Thanks!

devilDroid
05-20-2008, 11:16 AM
Since you're online, Robotguy, and I'm soooo impatient... ;)

Can you answer the Bot Board II type board for Parallax Propeller question? Huh huh huh?

LinuxGuy
05-20-2008, 11:21 AM
Can you answer the Bot Board II type board for Parallax Propeller question? Huh huh huh?
The Propeller is not compatible with the Lynxmotion Bot Board II. Only BS2 compatible processors can work on the Lynxmotion Bot Board II. Even some things are not doable on the Bot Board II for the BS2 types, for instance PS2 controllers don't work as well.

Patience. :veryhappy:

8-Dale

devilDroid
05-20-2008, 11:25 AM
Does anyone make a similar board (inputs, outputs, etc) for the Propeller?

LinuxGuy
05-20-2008, 11:31 AM
Does anyone make a similar board (inputs, outputs, etc) for the Propeller?
Yes, there is somebody making a similar board for the Propeller. I don't have the link handy, but you might find the thread on the Parallax Propeller Forums. The board is around $65.00 and I have had one of them - quite nice and I think better than the Parallax boards for robotics usages. I'll see if I can dig up the link.

8-Dale

devilDroid
05-20-2008, 12:08 PM
Yes, there is somebody making a similar board for the Propeller. I don't have the link handy, but you might find the thread on the Parallax Propeller Forums. The board is around $65.00 and I have had one of them - quite nice and I think better than the Parallax boards for robotics usages. I'll see if I can dig up the link.

8-Dale
Perfect. You Rock.

Dave
05-20-2008, 03:00 PM
I'm workin' on that myself right now, Dave. Keep your eyes open for a reasonable-cost solution to that very opportunity. ;)

I pulled this from an article about multiplexing the Arduino's analog inputs using an network of MC14067 chips. Looks cheap, simple, and scalable. Take a look at the wiring diagram link at the end of the quote.


Because Arduino only has six analogue inputs we need to extend this through the use of multiplexers. The multiplexers we used are MC14067BCP. These have 16 channel and enable you to plug 16 sensors into one analogue input. The way a multiplexer works is that you have to tell in which channel to read by setting the four control pins with the digital outputs from Arduino (2x2x2x2 = 16). The multiplexer the sends the value of this channel out of its output pin. This becomes the input for an analogue input on the Arduino board. We can plug six multiplexers into the six analogue inputs of Arduino. The same four digital outputs can be used to set each multiplexer. In the wiring diagram I have only drawn four multiplexers as we only needed four for your 63 sensors. The basic process is that we set the control pins to represent channel 0. We then read the value of sensors 0, 16, 32, 48 from the analogue inputs 0,1,2,3 respectively. We then set the control pins to 1 and repeat the process, but this time reading the values of sensor 1, 17, 33, 49.

To wire the Multiplexer we connect the inhibit pin (number 15) to earth. Connect the control pin 10 to the digital output 2, control pin 11 to the digital output 3, control pin 14 to the digital output 4 and control pin 13 to the digital output 5. Connect the ground pin (number 12) to ground and the power pin (number 24) to the 5V output on the Arduino board.

The multiplexer input channels are not in the order of the pin numbers so watch out. You can see how I wired it all together in the wiring diagram (http://fluid-forms.com/docs/MultiplexedArduinoWiringDiagram.pdf).


What do you consider close? The PING will give reliable readings down to 2 cm.

I stand corrected, 2 cm is pretty good. Thanks for straightening me out, Dale. Still, bump sensors on the feet will help to keep the bot from tripping over stuff under the sonar's line of sight.

Adrenalynn
05-20-2008, 04:30 PM
Thanks, Dave! I considered multiplexing, and may still do so for *really* dense applications. I have a rapid out, back in about 2 weeks, that will have 8x 8bit A/D, 8x 10bit A/D, 16x digital IO, 8x 10bit out D/A

It'll be pretty cost-effective...

devilDroid
05-21-2008, 12:38 PM
Yes, there is somebody making a similar board for the Propeller. I don't have the link handy, but you might find the thread on the Parallax Propeller Forums. The board is around $65.00 and I have had one of them - quite nice and I think better than the Parallax boards for robotics usages. I'll see if I can dig up the link.

8-Dale
Is this it? http://wulfden.org/PRC/index.shtml

LinuxGuy
05-21-2008, 03:14 PM
Is this it? http://wulfden.org/PRC/index.shtml
That's the one! It's a very nice board. Get it. :veryhappy: I was just going to post another link to it, but you found it. Get the Developer's Bundle - it's a very good value. I want to get one too, because I am getting interested in the Propeller again, and it would work well for some stuff I want to do. I want to see if I can code a Subsumption Engine for it. Propeller could end up being my new rapid project development and prototyping controller.

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
05-21-2008, 03:54 PM
That's super reasonable for that much processor. Looks interesting. I love microcontrollers. ;)

tom_chang79
05-22-2008, 02:15 AM
Speaking of microcontrollers and basically the brains of the bot, have you guys seen this:

http://botdeveloper.com/images/stories/Boardsmall.jpg

http://botdeveloper.com/


I've seen their ads floating around in the Robot Mag but didn't think too much of it. Now that I read their specs and looked at the board a little closer, seems like that thing is packed with everything under the sun!

It has I/O and ports up the whazoo!

devilDroid
05-22-2008, 07:31 AM
I want to see if I can code a Subsumption Engine for it. Propeller could end up being my new rapid project development and prototyping controller.

8-Dale
Can you elaborate? I've only thought of Subsumption architecture in theoretical terms. I'd be very interested in your ideas on how to implement it with hardware and software.

devilDroid
05-22-2008, 07:34 AM
http://botdeveloper.com/


I've seen their ads floating around in the Robot Mag but didn't think too much of it. Now that I read their specs and looked at the board a little closer, seems like that thing is packed with everything under the sun!

It has I/O and ports up the whazoo!
Looks cool. I don't see where it specifies what type of chip it supports, though...

devilDroid
05-22-2008, 11:50 AM
Would it be feasible to hack the Boe-Bot (http://www.parallax.com/Store/Microcontrollers/BASICStampModules/tabid/134/ProductID/390/List/1/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName,ProductName)to control a BRAT instead of a wheeled vehicle?

If so, I could use Microsoft Robotics Studio/C#, Bluetooth, *and* have it run autonomously.

It would be perfect as-is. I just really, really want a biped.

Dave
05-22-2008, 01:24 PM
http://botdeveloper.com/

...

It has I/O and ports up the whazoo!

Oh man. Yeah, that looks really cool at first glance, but it has a very frustrating limitation. No analog inputs. The board has some sort of expansion bus, so you could conceivably add an analog input daughter card to it, but still... It's like building a really nice house, but omitting the bathroom. Yeah, I've got this really nice house, but I still gotta go outside to do my business.

Adrenalynn
05-22-2008, 01:38 PM
So you would define analog as "bathroom", huh? I'm not arguing with you, just wondering... :p

Seriously, though, without a bathroom - errr - analog inputs, I wouldn't even give it a second glance.

Dave
05-22-2008, 02:32 PM
So you would define analog as "bathroom", huh? I'm not arguing with you, just wondering... :p

I stand by this analogy. Analog inputs are the essential watercloset of the robot controller domicile. It's where you send something that's too sloppy or continuously variable to safely pour down the drain. Er... you know what, I have no idea where I was going with this.

Go back to discussing whatever this thread was about before I started posting gibberish.

LinuxGuy
05-22-2008, 02:37 PM
I've seen their ads floating around in the Robot Mag but didn't think too much of it. Now that I read their specs and looked at the board a little closer, seems like that thing is packed with everything under the sun!
I am just waiting for it to become a real product for sale and what price they put on it.

8-Dale

devilDroid
05-23-2008, 09:06 AM
Would it be feasible to hack the Boe-Bot (http://www.parallax.com/Store/Microcontrollers/BASICStampModules/tabid/134/ProductID/390/List/1/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName,ProductName)to control a BRAT instead of a wheeled vehicle?

If so, I could use Microsoft Robotics Studio/C#, Bluetooth, *and* have it run autonomously.

It would be perfect as-is. I just really, really want a biped.
Is the Boe-Bot question too ridiculous to address? ;)

LinuxGuy
05-23-2008, 09:20 AM
Would it be feasible to hack the Boe-Bot (http://www.parallax.com/Store/Microcontrollers/BASICStampModules/tabid/134/ProductID/390/List/1/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName,ProductName)to control a BRAT instead of a wheeled vehicle?
No hack would be needed. There are far better processors you could put on it. However, any processor you want could be put on the BRAT, including the BS2. Don't look to do any wireless PS2 controller stuff though, because the BS2 doesn't handle that well.


If so, I could use Microsoft Robotics Studio/C#, Bluetooth, *and* have it run autonomously.
You could do this with any processor on the BRAT or any other robot. It's just a matter of writing the proper control program. In fact, you wouldn't have to alter the code for the MSRS side of things. You'd just have to write code to interpret the commands it sends to the robot.

If you look at the BS2 program that goes with the BOE-BOT to work with MSRS, all it is doing is receiving ASCII commands and doing a preprogrammed action. You can do that with any processor.

8-Dale

tom_chang79
05-23-2008, 12:30 PM
Oh man. Yeah, that looks really cool at first glance, but it has a very frustrating limitation. No analog inputs. The board has some sort of expansion bus, so you could conceivably add an analog input daughter card to it, but still... It's like building a really nice house, but omitting the bathroom. Yeah, I've got this really nice house, but I still gotta go outside to do my business.

;) That is a hilarious analogy (pardon the pun)!

Yeah, with no analog input, one would have to do a AtoD off card, which can get a little messy since that board is already big...

One peculiar thing off that site, it stated that the hardware and the software is going to be open, meaning you can buy your own. Strange how they would post a big ad in Robot Mag (a color full-pager) but not have any products to sell...

devilDroid
05-23-2008, 02:43 PM
You could do this with any processor on the BRAT or any other robot. It's just a matter of writing the proper control program. In fact, you wouldn't have to alter the code for the MSRS side of things. You'd just have to write code to interpret the commands it sends to the robot.

If you look at the BS2 program that goes with the BOE-BOT to work with MSRS, all it is doing is receiving ASCII commands and doing a preprogrammed action. You can do that with any processor.

8-Dale
Ah. That just further proves that I don't know jack. ;)

Since I don't know jack, do you think it would be better to use a BASIC Stamp or BASIC Atom Pro instead of Propeller (which, from what I understand, performs much better), since BASIC is more widely documented than Spin? Or do you think learning BASIC would be a waste of time and money if I know that I want to eventually upgrade to the Propeller?

LinuxGuy
05-23-2008, 02:48 PM
Since I don't know jack, do you think it would be better to use a BASIC Stamp or BASIC Atom Pro instead of Propeller (which, from what I understand, performs much better), since BASIC is more widely documented than Spin?
If you want to learn a current microcontroller that isn't expensive to replace if it goes smokey on you, go with the Propeller Chip. You'll get far better performance as you learn to use all the features of it. Even though the programming tools require Windows, I am going to dig into the Propeller Chip also. I'm tired of using expensive modules that don't let me do what I want to do.

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
05-23-2008, 05:28 PM
Honestly, I think you could do worse than the Propeller.

If you want to get your hands dirty, it's gotta be about the Arduino though. I hate to jump on that bandwagon, I've tried not to, but man there's a lot going for it... But really, you have to be willing to jump both feet into what it means to actually use a microcontroller.

Adrenalynn
05-23-2008, 05:30 PM
I stand by this analogy. Analog inputs are the essential watercloset of the robot controller domicile. It's where you send something that's too sloppy or continuously variable to safely pour down the drain. Er... you know what, I have no idea where I was going with this.


Let's play this one out. I'm not disagreeing with you at the surface. Deeper down, though, our world is analog. [man, you and your analogy. Makes it hard to write things like "deeper down"... ;)]

It's really hard to find anything in the "real world" that is digital... If you want to interact with the planet around you, I think one needs to get really comfortable with A->D. The computer is, of course, all digital, but everything you want it to talk to is analog. It's all about shades of... gray. Or brown... :p

LinuxGuy
05-23-2008, 08:55 PM
If you want to get your hands dirty, it's gotta be about the Arduino though. I hate to jump on that bandwagon, I've tried not to, but man there's a lot going for it...
Very true. Adding a shield to it with 3 pin headers for I/O would even allow it to be used for small robots. Very inexpensive controller and programable in C too if you want to.


But really, you have to be willing to jump both feet into what it means to actually use a microcontroller.
I agree, and this is what I did when I jumped into PICs/dsPICs. I know a lot of people who use them, so knew I would have a lot of help when needed.

The same would be true of the Arduino and AVRs though. There is AVRFreaks (http://www.avrfreaks.net), and a lot of other AVR resources.

You really don't have to look far to find a good support network for most processors. Arduino is on my list, like the Make Controller, for cool things to tinker with that are breadboard friendly and fully Open Source. :veryhappy:

So many micros, so little money..

8-Dale

Adrenalynn
05-25-2008, 10:55 AM
I have to admit the Make Controller took a step down for me recently when I realized that there were NO exposed digital IO. It does have the motor controllers, which is nice, and an average number of Analog Inputs. For the price, though, I'd really have liked to see a complement of digital IO...

The upshot really is:

8 analog inputs (10bit ea)
8 Digital OUT, 1A motor controllers (that's pretty spiffy, they mate nicely with the solarbotics motors which is my plan for them. They can be combined to drive higher current loads, and you can use 'em to drive steppers)
4 servo outputs (I guess that's pretty handy)
4 status LEDs (nice to indicate a state)

devilDroid
05-27-2008, 10:23 AM
I'm looking into the Arduino stuff now...

What do you guys think of Spin Studio?
http://ucontroller.com/spinstudiooverview.html
http://ucontroller.com/

Adrenalynn
05-27-2008, 11:36 AM
(I should note: The Make controller has 8x Digital OUT, so when I said "Digital IO", I wasn't being as clear as I should have been. It apparently has no Digital In exposed)

Alex
05-28-2008, 09:33 AM
No digital inputs?? So that means, no digital IR sensors, bump switches, etc.? That's sux!

That board just dropped down to my top 10 boards, down from my top 5:(

Adrenalynn
05-28-2008, 12:03 PM
Yeah, you could simulate it with Analog In. A switch with a 3.3v power source would give you 0v open and 3.3v closed, just ignore any float. Kinda nice because you'd have a "built-in debounce" ;) Seriously, though, it stinks having to give-up my analogs to make 'em digital.

On the plus side, you get 8x 1A HBridge motor controllers in exchange that can be bonded together, like 4x 2A...

devilDroid
05-29-2008, 07:08 AM
No digital inputs?? So that means, no digital IR sensors, bump switches, etc.? That's sux!

That board just dropped down to my top 10 boards, down from my top 5:(

What are your other 4 top boards?

Adrenalynn
05-29-2008, 10:50 AM
The Serializer is his bestest friend, me thinks. :)

I'm liking the Arduino Decimillia these days. But the Make Controller still has its place with those high-current outputs-a-plenty.

Alex
05-29-2008, 02:18 PM
yep you guessed it;)



RoboticsConnection's Serializer (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/5196-Robotics-Connection-Serializer-WL.aspx)
Phidget 8/8/8 Interface Kit (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/5341-InterfaceKit-8-8-8.aspx)
Arduino Diecimila USB IO Board (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/arduino-diecimila-usb-io-board.aspx) (even though I never had a chance to mess with it myself:))
Phidget Servo 4-Motor Controller (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/3188-Servo-4-Motor-Controller.aspx)

Adrenalynn
05-29-2008, 02:38 PM
Have you seen the washable sew-in-a-ble Arduino, Alex? With the conductive thread? I sooo wanna come up with a good use for one. They even have a whole compliment of washable sensors to use with that thread and wearable arduino. Heck, they even have a battery pack for it!

Alex
05-29-2008, 03:17 PM
huh? Are you for real?

Adrenalynn
05-29-2008, 03:29 PM
I am. And so is the product-line I mentioned. :) You really need to get out more, my friend... Smell the CoolTechToys. :D

The line is called "Lilypad", and I have some of the stuff on order right now. Remarkably inexpensive, as you'd expect from Arduino stuff.

"LilyPad is a wearable e-textile technology developed by Leah Buechley and cooperatively designed by Leah and SparkFun. Each LilyPad was creatively designed to have large connecting pads to allow them to be sewn into clothing. Various input, output, power, and sensor boards are available. They're even washable!"**

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=lilypad

Conductive thread here: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8549

[** Emphasis mine]

Alex
05-30-2008, 08:46 AM
oh yes, Lilypad. I have heard of it, but I haven't looked into what it is all about yet. Thanks for the info!

Anyways, back to the subject of this thread:D

devilDroid
06-02-2008, 08:06 PM
Anyways, back to the subject of this thread:D
No need. All subjects are on-topic when you're a manic roboticist. ;)

devilDroid
07-25-2008, 08:19 AM
That's the one! It's a very nice board. Get it. :veryhappy: I was just going to post another link to it, but you found it. Get the Developer's Bundle - it's a very good value. I want to get one too, because I am getting interested in the Propeller again, and it would work well for some stuff I want to do. I want to see if I can code a Subsumption Engine for it. Propeller could end up being my new rapid project development and prototyping controller.

8-Dale
I finally have some money set aside for my project. Robot/Linux Guy, do you still think that Wulfden's PRC Development bundle (http://wulfden.org/PRC/index.shtml) is the way to go? The only other board that I've found for a Propeller is Spin Studio (http://ucontroller.com/). Would you mind taking a look at it and comparing the two?