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Thread: New guy needs some direction please!...

  1. New guy needs some direction please!...

    Hey, can't say how grateful I am to have found this forum! Although I'm not from the robotics community, I am a crafter of sorts and have an idea for a little device I'd like to build, and I need your advice on where to go from here.

    My task is fairly simple. I work in an industry that uses 6-8" computer tablets, and when a part of the screen changes color to indicate an available 'job,' whoever hits the on-screen 'button' first gets the job, thusly increasing their income. Basically, I just need to create a device that senses when that particular part of the screen changes color, and then automatically responds with some type of actuator (I assume) to make contact with the screen using a stylus device.

    Sounds simple? I hope so!

    I know this may take some work, but I'm def willing to make an investment in time and effort.

    Without going into further detail I should stop short and simply ask...is this the place I need to be to begin developing such an idea? Also, I'd like to try to develop this idea simultaneously at as many locations as possible here on the net; so if there's another place besides here that may be of help I would surely appreciate some direction.

    Looking forward to your ideas and questions!

  2. #2
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    Re: New guy needs some direction please!...

    People are probably reluctant to respond because there are many ways to skin this cat, and it's really a more advanced project than you think. The people who post most frequently here like to hear about projects that you've started to physically build, not the hypothetical future project with no show of even pen to paper. We hear things like this all the time, and though you've said you want to put in an investment of time and effort, you might have just skipped the effort it takes in the planning stage of a project. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm really trying to help you out here. The design should have happened before you posted, which would let the folks here give you actual help. Nobody here is going to do your homework for you, but once you get started, really started, plenty of the people on these forums are very knowledgeable and kind. You will spend a lot of time working on projects that don't do what you want before getting to a point where you are capable of making this one. This is a very large and deep skill set, and if you have no interest in robotics as something you want to do in general, I wouldn't advise taking on this project. Again, I'm not being mean, very much trying to help you out here. You asked for direction, and I can point you in one.

    I'll give you a suggestion for a starting point:

    To get started with arduino programming, you can grab the Basic+ Experimenter's Kit and go through everything in RobotGeek 101. This should hopefully get you more used to the programming environment you will be using in the future. Explore this level with active interest, and make things for the sake of making things at this stage, so you get a good handle on where you're headed. To get acquainted with the kind of hardware you might need, pick up a PhantomX RoboTurret and a pixy. The simplest project you can make to get started is to have the turret follow something of a color. Don't skip the foundational learning, you absolutely need to acquaint yourself with the servos best suited for your end project. I suggest this project because if you can't make this work, you won't be able to progress to the thing you suggested you actually want to make. The pixy is really nicely featured for color tracking, so get real comfy with that. After you get a pixy turret working, grab yourself a WidowX Robot Arm. Give the robot arm a stylus, mount your pixy facing the screen, and program the robot arm to move to each location matching the color you want. Nobody anywhere is going to outright give you code that does this, and it would be awesome to see you progress through everything and make it happen. That's all I have, godspeed!

  3. Re: New guy needs some direction please!...

    Yes my friend (as one of the only other people I know who sign off with godspeed) I'm glad you said it exactly the way you did. I've seen general encouragement from elsewhere but you've done me my first real favor in these parts by laying it straight out how it is. So it's gonna be about paying some serious dues in the form of learning how the entire system of these types gadgets work and then making one that actually does. Not impossible. I spent many nights when I was young pounding out BASIC on a C64 screen until I fell asleep. So the question then becomes, would it be worth it to go through all this learning to increase my income. My hunch is that it still would.

    Couple questions...

    1- I will ask you the absurd favor of estimating how many total hours of learning designing and making would it take me to get my project done?

    and, in the other direction...

    2- Is it possible to simply pay someone already with this knowledge to build my specialized gadget?

  4. #4

    Re: New guy needs some direction please!...

    Yes, it can be built.
    But, that would be an expensive and error prone way to solve the problem.
    Assuming you can accesss the network that distributes the data, or put some software on the actual tablet, you could have software respond for you in milliseconds.

    The question then comes up: Why is the allocation based on "first to click" rather than some kind of ready queue? That sounds really inefficient.
    What if someone builds the "perfect clicker" and gets all the tiles? If that would work, why are there more workers than one needed?
    What if two people both have this clicker? Now you just have the same competition you had initially, except it's between clickers, not humans. (See also: automated stock trading!) This doesn't add any value to the economy; it's a societal externality, to be economist about it.

    If "first to click" really is so competitive that a device would be worth it, then the industry would likely be better off with a queued allocation system: Click to go in the queue, and when a tile becomes available, it gets assigned in queue order. That, and making sure the number of workers matches the offered work amount. Whoever runs your industry probably already knows this, so there must be other factors that I'm not seeing?

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