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croc999
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General Status??? - 2008/11/08 00:21 Being a fan of the PC bot and owning an ER1 that I have been playing with again lately (and have made pretty good progress on localization and navigation) I can't help but wonder what is happening with the 914?

I normally check this site every day to see if there is anything new and exciting, hoping to hear something from the community in regards to progress they have made in making the 914 a useful tool, but the forums seem very very dead, it reminds me of the Er1 forum at Evolution that eventually imploded.

So what are people working on?, has anyone come up with a SW app that make the 914 a useful tool (performs an actual task) .

I hope this comes across with the right tone, I'm not trying to stir anything up, I would love to be able to come to the site and read some cool stuff that is being done.

Croc4
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c6jones720
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Re:General Status??? - 2008/11/09 19:10 For now have a play with the MSRS stuff and see what you think.

In terms of software that will make your robot perform a truly useful task just try integrating Roborealm into one of the 914 software packages that supports odometry those packages are:

Brian
MSRS
Player

As for the 914 and robotics in general I'll say this. Robotics is a bit like the chicken and egg scenario. From experience a robot is useful when you have a clear idea of what you want it to do. If it does what you wanted then its useful. If not then reevaluate what you wanted in the first place. Once you have that done build your next desired feature on top. - Its just basic engineering.

Im actually working in robotics now for a living and the stuff I work with is designed and built with a particular purpose in mind. To that end we can easily say that our robot is useful when it does the task we asked it to.
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croc999
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Re:General Status??? - 2008/11/11 00:32 thanks for the reply, but it looks like there is sadly not much going on based on the lack of replies.

I am familiar with the programs you cite, but I was looking for more 914 centric projects that users have done.

As far a what a 'useful' task is, well you could argue this forever, but something as simple as being able to command the 914 to go to a specific room and then return and if its batteries are low then return to a charging base, in my opinion is a useful task that could then be further built on.

The other thing I see (or don't see in this case), is to really grow the potential of the 914, the community needs to work together posting code, and having the code common on all 914's in the community that is then worked on based on each users expertise, building to a larger overall goal. Brain seems to be a first step, but given the lack of traffic from users on the forum, it looks like things are stagnant ;-(

I guess I'll have to just keep checking in on the web site........

Croc4
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c6jones720
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Re:General Status??? - 2008/11/11 01:54 something as simple as being able to command the 914 to go to a specific room and then return and if its batteries are low then return to a charging base

The 914 is perfectly capable of doing what you said. I spent a lot of time and energy last Christmas making it do exactly this with my own software and electronics.

If you want the robot to do that (and it can) use a software package that features odometry.

The docking/undocking and detecting battery voltage is quite straight forward, you just interface some extra electronics to either the M3 or to the computer via some sort of interface like the Phidgets 888. Your computer will stop altogether when the battery goes down below 10volts so make sure you circuitry looks for that.

You know that theres another lot of inputs on the M3 that nobody ever uses?

The hardest part of getting what you said working was roaming around and then returning the robot to the starting place. On carpet the robot can slip and will lose accuracy over time.
When it returns to the charger it will come back to a slightly different position because of that.

If you want to find the charger I found that the best method was a combination of odometry and line following. Beaconing using infrared worked but line following was better.

The other problem I had was the reliability of communications to the M3 controller. Occasionally there would be a comms error that would throw the odometry out. This could just have been my software. I never quite figured out exactly what that was but I think it was down to the analog sensor polling.

Code profiling showed that polling the analog sensors is the single longest duration operation the M3 can perform.
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croc999
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Re:General Status??? - 2008/11/11 03:55 I agree that my example is doable, and I'm not arguing any technical issue with the 914, I'm less interested in what the 914 can do ( a glean of the specs and google can get this info), and more interested in what people have done.

If the baseline is raised by the community such that many basic building blocks such as navigation/docking are solved then new 914 users can start getting into
creating better applications by building on the work the community has already done, at the moment a new 914 user has to start at ground zero before even getting into writing any cool application.

Its in the best interest of everyone for this to happen, better out of the box functionality (either from the community or whitebox) would only make the 914 even more useful to build upon, this would snow ball into coming up with even better uses for the 914.

So this was the reason I posted the original question as I have seen very little new info on the 914 and cool community projects.
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jamesbruton
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Re:General Status??? - 2008/11/11 04:13 So this was the reason I posted the original question as I have seen very little new info on the 914 and cool community projects.

I guess it comes down to people sending in stuff they have done for everyone to see. There a lot of projects in the Enthusiast Projects section, but not too many collaborative projects as you correctly say...

MRDS support has only recently come out, which was in fact a collaboration between two community members... so I'll guess we'll see what people do with it, and more importantly if they wish to share it (I can't force them to
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