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Thread: Steam Automaton Groucho

  1. #11
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Groucho's Status:

    • Removed most of the extraneous parts of the wheelchair. If anybody wants the original electronics, I'd be glad to send it to them for the cost of shipping. I still have to get a big honk'n LiFePo4 battery.
    • Built the torso structure. I still need to break this 2 foot cube into layers. For this I plan to use drawer slides: either buy some with ball bearings, or print some nylon ones.
    • My NUC arrived, but I exchanged it for the same motherboard in a larger case so I could put a notebook SSD as well as the mSSD card. This extra space will mostly be used as a shared disc by my Troupe of robots. Unfortunately the new one won't be here until the end of next week. And since we'll be away, it may mean until the following Monday.
    • I have most of my basic sensors including a Kinect and a bunch of sonars and Sharp IR Rangers. I also have GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope. There are still some i need to get.
    • I have some MX-64s on the way for one or more arms or necks. I haven't done the math on the arms yet.
    • I am still awaiting my 3d printer for some of the mechanical stuff as well as the steampunk decorations.
    • All of the programming needs to be done. I may try to install ROS on a BeagleBone Black so I can start leaning it if I have time before I get my new NUC.


    Some hints on the other members of the troupe are:
    • Harpo: A hexapod, probably a Phantom.
    • Zeppo: Just a bit more than your basic Hello World robot. But not much more.
    • Chico: A two wheeled balancing robot. Perhaps even a one wheeled one.


    Other projects I'll be working on in between are some musical instruments, starting with the laser harp, and continuing with a small piano made from a very young child's piano (think Schroeder from Peanuts). I might make it from scratch and make it a steam organ instead.
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    A little learning is a dangerous thing.

  2. #12
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    I found my container of sensors that I bought and used up to 2003, and I found that most of what I'm using is the same sorts of things that I used then. A bunch of SRF04s, a lot of Sharp IR Rangefinders of varying distances, and 16 SFR08s (the I2C version of the SFR04). I'll take pics later!

    And I know there are more to be found in my basement. Scarey but true, I haven't unpacked the basement in four years. Now that would be a good productive use of a robot!
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  3. #13
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Here's Pi in your eyes Groucho.

    I was planning on using webcams, but I'm thinking of going a different way. A RasPi can easily connect to a camera module and Ethernet. Also, the RasPi should be able to do some preprocessing of the image before my main computer gets to it. Yes, I would prefer to go for a really high quality gigabit Ethernet camera, but I'll take what I can get.

    So the main head will have three RasPis and their camera modules (two setup for stereo and a third one for IR vision). But first I'll just try with what I've got which is a single RasPi and camera module. I'm curious what I can make it do if I twist it's tail a bit.

    One the RasPi Compute Module becomes available I should be able to make the heads smaller. Yes, this means I want to have multiple heads. I figure the main head will have the three eyes mentioned above, and two heads on either side with a single eye apiece. Each head will have an accelerometer/gyroscope combo to aid in helping the heads to know their their position; as well as the information from the servos controlling the necks. This should be enough to keep the cameras in alignment as long as I double-check the data from the images to make sure the positions are consistent.

    The positioning should allow for a wider stereo view if I need it. Or to have multiple objects being watched. Or perhaps just to have some non-verbal communication and emoting.

    In addition, I may have some cameras elsewhere to see if I can supplement traditional odometry with vision.

    And since I'm thinking about vision, I'll just throw this idea out there. The normal human eye has one area of the eye that is high in receptors, called the fovea. The are is really where we do most of our sight, but it is very small. We just move our eyes around without noticing it normally.

    To duplicate this, take one camera module for the center. Surround this module with six other modules for the next layer. These can have about half the detail of the center, but their fields of vision should each overlap the center and the ones next to them. Then put a third circle containing around 12-18 modules around the second circle. This would probably contain IR modules, and the detail could be lower than the second circle.

    So for each circle, there are more modules, but less detail, so less computation per module. Of course, right now I couldn't imagine paying for this, or even how I'd go with linking the computers controlling the modules.

    But i do think its an interesting idea. Maybe someday. Or somebody else will do it.
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  4. #14
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    http://disp.duke.edu/projects/AWARE/

    I'm kinda partial to designs combining multiple bare sensors in a contoured array illuminated by a single wide-angle lens assembly (panomorph is pretty awesome) similar to Kepler's ~95MP array. Although there are gaps in the composite image caused by the spaces between the sensors, it is simpler and much more compact than the optical assembly required for accurate alignment of the independent camera module images in gigapixel cameras.



    One of my lurking grounds was invaded by quotes from yet another IDiot claiming the human eye to be a supremely designed work of perfection that could not possibly be the horribly flawed p.o.s. we know it to be. When confronted by the flaws we know exist, it then claimed those flaws were due to our lack of understanding of some unknown tradeoffs we may discover in the future that will prove the design to be perfect. When tracked to the source, its friend was one of the few people I've ever seen claim that light does not travel and that vision is caused by rays leaving the eye, thus completely refusing to accept reality. ...someone please stop the planet, I want to get off.
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"
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  5. #15
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Quote Originally Posted by tician View Post
    http://disp.duke.edu/projects/AWARE/

    I'm kinda partial to designs combining multiple bare sensors in a contoured array illuminated by a single wide-angle lens assembly (panomorph is pretty awesome) similar to Kepler's ~95MP array. Although there are gaps in the composite image caused by the spaces between the sensors, it is simpler and much more compact than the optical assembly required for accurate alignment of the independent camera module images in gigapixel cameras.
    Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I love the concept, but bit it's a bit big even for Groucho, though maybe if I were building Gigantot


    But it's wonderful for the uses to which it can be put. A simplified version would make a nice robot camera though.

    One of my lurking grounds was invaded by quotes from yet another IDiot claiming the human eye to be a supremely designed work of perfection that could not possibly be the horribly flawed p.o.s. we know it to be. When confronted by the flaws we know exist, it then claimed those flaws were due to our lack of understanding of some unknown tradeoffs we may discover in the future that will prove the design to be perfect. When tracked to the source, its friend was one of the few people I've ever seen claim that light does not travel and that vision is caused by rays leaving the eye, thus completely refusing to accept reality. ...someone please stop the planet, I want to get off.
    I understand. I ran into a thread where the OP believes that all creatures will evolve into humanoid form with human intelligence. Of course, the was on a role playing system forum, so a bit of fantasy is OK. Unfortunately misunderstanding evolution is one of my pet peeves. I make no claim that the human eye or any other system is even close to perfect.
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  6. #16
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    The 'light field camera' is another rather concept that might be of interest. It is apparently not that difficult to implement with a printed mask placed over the sensor, and permits you to adjust the focus anytime after the image has been taken. It has also been used for creating 3D depthmaps, but there seem to be fewer freely available papers detailing that process.



    How I wish I had cephalopod eyes with their movable lenses for focusing (like a camera, instead of deforming the lens like most vertebrates), receptor cells pointing the correct direction, and the ability to perceive the polarization of light. The eyes of the mantis shrimp would be a close second with its 16+ pigments for color and polarization, though the trinocular compound eyes mean lower visual acuity. Stuff the mantis shrimp receptors into the cephalopod eye, rewire my visual system to permit simultaneous perception of all receptors (instead of blending signals before the optic nerve), rebuild the nictitating membrane, and I would be "SQUEEEEE!!!!!"
    Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
    "You have failed me, Brain!"
    [git][mech][hack]
    gives free advice only on public threads

  7. #17
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Quote Originally Posted by tician View Post
    The 'light field camera' is another rather concept that might be of interest. It is apparently not that difficult to implement with a printed mask placed over the sensor, and permits you to adjust the focus anytime after the image has been taken. It has also been used for creating 3D depthmaps, but there seem to be fewer freely available papers detailing that process.
    Interesting. A very simple solution to create a 3d camera.
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  8. #18

    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    Light fields basically add two (!) more dimensions to the data that's captured, so your storage requirements do go up a fair amount.
    The good news is that each of those separate dimensions are typically largely correlated, which can be used to significantly improve average compression ratios.

  9. #19
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    I'm keeping the light fields in mind for later. Currently I'm planning on going with a three camera head (two for stereo, one IR for night), plus two smaller heads mounted on "arms" each with one camera (or maybe later one normal and one IR if the IR proves useful). This will allow Groucho to have a large stereo baseline using both auxiliary heads, or to examine alternate objects of interest.

    Or, to be completely honest, because multiple heads look cool.
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  10. #20
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    Re: Steam Automaton Groucho

    How much of the original Groucho you did in 2009 are you going to keep? The four deck design using the Zagros REX 14C base.

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