Monday, January 23, 2012

The Plan 8 from Outer Space Video

I created this short video for my new robot, Plan 8 from Outer Space. I recently added a robotic arm to the robot and ended the arm with a red photometer. It's now a good model of a planetary rover.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Plan 8 From Outer Space

I've nearly completed my latest robotics project, a radio instructed robot, or rover. The robot does not respond to joystick commands like a game. Instead, Plan 8 from Outer Space receives text instructions from a radio terminal. The commands are parsed and then acted on as long as they are valid. Except for it's robotic arm, the rover is complete.

Here's a list of the commands the rover can act on.
1. Move forwards or backwards
2. Move sideways left or right
3. Move diagonally, forwards or backwards and left or right
4. Pivot in place
5. Turn clockwise or counterclockwise while moving forward or backward
6. Collect photometer data now or over time
7. Pivot a camera left or right within a 90 deg arc
8. Turn on its two laser (indicates the width of robot in video images)
9. Give range data to objects (five angles within 45 deg left and right)
10. Report body tilt

Eventually Plan 8 from Outer Space will be outfitted with an arm to measure the level of radioactivity within a sample.

The robot has an articulated body that twists as it drives over obstacles. The four wheels are driven and are independently steered. Several new NearSys kits are incorporated into the robot, so look for these soon.

1. Smart Sonar (scanning sonar)
2. Accelerometer (used to measure tilt of the robot body)
3. CheapBot-20 robot controller (based on the PICAXE-20) which steers four independent wheels, drives two banks of motors, and has eight I/O ports
4. Bi-directional radio terminal

A side view of my new rover

A front view of my new rover