I pretty much have my platform mobile. I've posted some code and
descriptions already, and I'll be making my website soon.
Does any one have any good ideas about what it should be able to do.
Obviously, it should be able to move and avoid objects, do path planning,
and so on, but what should it "do?"
You can program it to detect the presence of other people, and then
direct itself to you with lights flashing and says loudly in its
"Danger danger ! Warning warning ! Aliens approaching !"
To deactivate the warning and lights, you reply to the robot.
"Silence ! you bubble headed booby"
At which point it returns to previous tasks.
#1) autonomous mapping
#2) cover all floor space program (vaccum, sweep)
#3) human interaction mode when you bump the switch on his top ---
computer on wheels
#4) voice recognition to control all of it
#5) "go to" mode. Tell robot "Go to kitchen" and he does
#6) "go get" mode. Tell robot "go get ____" and he does (mine does
this, items are on
bottom shelf of my book case.
#7) chase the cat, dog. Go retrieve a ball
please add to the list!
I ran out of ideas and started talking
to friends and family about it. Some of
the best ideas came from my dad and
some from children at the school my
mother works at.
Person following is a classical and very useful behavior. The analog task
(person leading) is also usefull, but more challenging. Think about making
your robot an "autonomous labrador", that could effectively guide a blind
person.... that is a very hard problem.
So we have the solution now what is the
problem to solve :)
You can't have it do useful stuff like
sweep the kitchen floor because that would
go over the $500 budget.
It also rules out clearing the table and
stacking the dishes, making the bed, taking
out the rubbish, cooking the meals, removing
unwanted house guests like spiders...
Perhaps it wouldn't be too difficult to add
a fish tank water pump to water some pot plants.
Maybe a simple dispenser to feed the fish or
fill the cat/dog bowl at fixed times?
Mind you some people find repetitive work
therapeutic and would resent the robot doing
their job :)
So I guess you are left with entertainment?
Essentially about as useful (or useless)
as a house cat.
With your PID control maybe it could learn
to dance? Perhaps it could sing a tune at
the same time? A cute shell and some flashing
LED lights would add to its appeal.
I seem to recall you suggesting fetch/store
might be interesting? The items could be in
some standard sized boxes and some means for
the robot to locate and recognize (perhaps by
their location) these boxes. The robot would
need some way of picking up and letting go of
these boxes. Perhaps a piece of metal on the
box and a electric magnet on the robot?
At this stage have you figured out how the
robot is to sense its environment in order
to navigate and avoid obstacles?
At this stage you haven't said what sensors
you will have to navigate and avoid obstacles
apart from the wheel encoders for dead reckoning.
The $500 is for the base platform.
I would find it hard to see any robot doing these tasks at the moment. Maybe
That is actualy an interesting idea.
Have discussed this with my son. Having it dump food into the aquarium would
No one I know.
but with a better personality.
It can speak, and I have an LCD screen for it.
Flashing lights are so 1960s.
Figured out, yes, long ago at Denning, not implemented on mine as of yet,
and it is hardly perfect, obviously.
Wheel encoders are a very weak source for position information. I was
atually wondering if the wireless router that I have could be used for some
sort of triangulation, one transmit antenna, two reciever antenntas. It is
theoretically possible, whether or not the information is available is a
This looks like the million dollar question to me. Outside of the
industrial robotics environment, I have not seen a single robot
advertised or even credibly discussed that can do an adequate job of
something that I would pay real money to have done.
This is the "killer app" that is conspicuously absent. This is not to
say that building robots is not fun, interesting or an excellent way to
pick up saleable engineering experience,it is all of those things.
(Paradigm shift) My robot's already doing heaps of things. Actually it
doesn't do a great deal, but it does serve as a focus for intellectual
endeavour. Vacuuming the floor, following the dog, identifying the
colour green, these are all very noble and desirable abilities, but
the most valuable ability a research robot has is the ability to make
its owner/developer think, solve problems, research, hypothesize,
persevere. In addition, the endeavour needed to physically produce a
robot requires the development and practise of a range of practical
technical skills which are to some extent transferrable to other
So while my robot is only able to drive about and say "I am a robot",
I'm the one who has benefited from augmented capabilities and
About 10 years ago, I built a remote controlled lawnmower. The idea was to
sit in front of the TV with a remote controller and cut the grass. The
idea was probably crap, but it never got anywhere because I couldn't get a
decent wireless video link that wouldn't drop out when the lawnmower went
behind a tree. Kinda scary when you lose the link and its a dangerous
running lawnmower out there. I kept looking for a robust link, maybe
something that would send the video over many frequencies and select the
best signal on the receiving end. All I've seen is single frequency stuff,
like 900 MHz, 1.2 GHz, or 2.4 GHz, with elaborate antennas which still have
to be moved around to get a decent signal.
I would think remote sentry robots would have to solve this problem, anybody
heard of any developments in this area? The link doesn't have go far,
maybe 200 feet, but it needs to get reliably from outside to inside a
typical frame house.
'Course, I was making a joke about the 60s, but I also agree that
aesthetics play an important part of our enjoyment of most anything,
robots included. Blinking lights *look* like robot stuff to most people.
In addition to LEDs, don't forget side-emitting fiber optics and
electroluminescent panels and wire. Sort of the "Tron Look."
Sound effects are also critical. Noises, chirps, relay clatter, and all
that add a human dimension to robots. People prefer R2D2 over C3PO.
There's a reason.
The trick would probably be to put the receiver on a pole above
your house to get good reception and connect it to the tv and
power inside using some cheap phone cat3 four conductor wire. The
below places have some higher power video setups.
people are obselete and ugly?
interesting observation. I never
did care much for c3po.
I read Asimov's "The Norby Chronicles"
and wanted a robot that would do THAT.
I haven't figured out how to tune my bots'
Take you word for it. Maybe they just don't
admit to the satisfaction of a physical job
well done like cleaning the sink or floor
or chopping a pile of firewood.
I know one lady that uses her brain all week
and one pleasure is to vege out by weeding the
garden and doing other routine chores.
Of course it can. Just sing the following
Just turn to the right,
turn to the left
jiggle those wheels and go beep beep beep.
move forward 3 steps
move backward 3 steps
jiggle those wheels, flash those lights,
spin to the left
spin to the right
and so on....
Kids would love it if the moves were synchronized
to accompanying music.
Don't underestimate the emotional appeal of a
good light display and really cool sounds to
the general population, particularly the young,
even if they leave you cold.
Why do we like fireworks, why xmas lights, why
does the Terminator have red glowing eyes? Why
do movies use mood music. Think about what many
people like when it comes to the appearance and
sound of their car.
A domestic robot should look and sound great
like all the other possessions we treasure.
Robots of the 2000's will need a "modern" look
compared with those of the 1960's. But human
emotions do not change, only their cultural
expression. The Honda robot and its successors
may not look like the steel robots of the 1960's
but they still have that "human" appearance.
Today's cool look is tomorrows kitsch :)
Kind of expected you to expand a bit at this point :)
I would consider your basic sensors as part of the
$500 robot base. Personally I think any self respecting
robot needs a set of four ultrasonic and infrared
obstacle detectors and, should they fail to prevent
unwanted contact, a set of bumper switches.
My wife really doesn't like to spend hours on end making a quilt. She'd
rather just plop in front of the TV and watch Redneck Weekend on Comedy
I guess I should offer to build her a quilt-making robot?