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Thread: Two small robots

  1. Two small robots

    Hi folks,

    I'd like to show my project as well. I am a fan of artificial intelligence and wanted to create my own robot that would be used for research. The end result was the knowledge that I am really bad with hardware, and two small robots that were constructed from ready-made components.

    Both of my machines have:
    - Raspberry Pi - The main brain of the robot that will do the heavy lifting for AI algorithms (hopefully)
    - Arduino uno - Control for the sensors and motors
    - Wi-Fi - It allows to connect with a browser to the web server installed in the Raspberry Pi and control the machine
    - Pan/Tilt Mechanism and a camera - Well... it's the all/none seeing eye of the robot.

    Once we connect to the web server inside of each machine, it will load a list of all the modules that reside on the robot. Then with drag and drop interface, we can customize the control station and select just the modules we want to control.

    There are two control modes. The first rely on just using the fields to set the different control values. In this mode, we can set precise commands and values, but it's slow since we change one value at a time. The other option is a First Person control mode. Using the keyboard to control the moving direction of the chassis and the mouse to control the turret just like a game.

    Here are some videos with the first tests:

    If you liked it, check out my blog:


  2. #2

    Re: Two small robots

    That looks neat!

    Are you using WiFi to stream the camera? I notice that there's some lag that might make it hard to drive in "real time."

  3. Re: Two small robots

    Yep, I am using the WiFi to stream the camera and all of the other data as well. As you mentioned, the lag is significant for a real-time ride (150-200 milliseconds for the full data loop: browser -> robot controls -> robot action -> camera -> browser).

    There are two reasons for this. The first is my programming model. Most of my code is running in different heartbeat Ticks. Update the browser data each 50 milliseconds, get the control commands from the browser each 50 milliseconds, process the data in the Raspberry and send the new values to the Arduino each 50 milliseconds and so on. The other reason is the synchronization for the camera while skipping frames. Since my code can process up to 15 frames in 320*200 and up to 5 frames in 640*400, I am skipping the processing of some frames and flush them out of the video buffer so they don't induce more lag (without this the lag was more than a second).

    For the next version, I plan to add priority flags to all of the transmitted data. And if something is have a critical priority, to be processed as soon as possible without waiting for the Ticks. This will fix the lag for the camera and controls, and at the same time it wont flood the Com channels with low priority data (I really hope this will work though).

  4. Re: Two small robots

    Hi again guys,

    Here is an update on my project. One of the main problems I face when recording a video is the synchronization of the movements of multiple robots and cameras. In my case there are two robots and four cameras (one for each robot, one recording from distance and one recording the screen of my laptop). I made some modifications to my control software and by this I automated some of the tasks.

    Here is a list of the modifications:

    - Added clustering capabilities - Allows all of the controls for the robots to be accessed from a single location
    - Installed a Text to speech software - Just making my machines cooler
    - Orchestrator module - Makes the robots move based on predefined scenario

    The main idea is to have the robots to synchronize their movements with the help of the orchestrator module. And to have all of the commands distributed by the clustering module.

    On this video, my bots are following a simple scenario without any user control, and my only job was to point the camera:

  5. #5

    Re: Two small robots

    And now you learn why movie production uses a "clapper" :-)
    I find it useful to bang a stick or clap my hands or whatever, and then I can line up that event between takes in an editing tool.

    Is that the Tamiya treaded chassis?

  6. Re: Two small robots

    Yes, it is the Tamiya treaded chassis. It was the first chassis I ever bought and after a few years I finally put it to some good use And I am glad to say that it is performing better than I thought at the beginning. Still, at some point, I will require a lot more processing power and some additional hardware, so I will have to search for alternative chassis.

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