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19 August 2009 @ 11:26 pm
New Project  
Started work on a new project and wanted to document it here. It's been something i've been thinking of for some time and only recently put into action. Since the end goal is somewhat far-fetched i'm going to keep it to myself but the journey up to that point will be visible to anyone who is interested.

What is it? A robot! I've always been an ok programmer (ooo, modesty) and horrible at electronics. I've tried to get into electronics three times so far and failed each time. Well, not this time! I'm going to only work with mostly pre-made parts and try to put most of the project into programming, no electronics.

Anyways.. i present to you the Arduino Duemilanova (yes, that's actually the spelling)
Please ignore my ancient and crusty keyboard in the background.. i will diligently try not to photograph that again.. for the sake of everyone.

I've spent some time thinking about brainpower and i think it would be easier to have my computer do most of the thinking and control the robot remotely.. this is done through Xbees like this:

For mobility i'm using 2 kits from Tamiya, Tank treads and twin motor gearbox:
tank tracks and motor driver arduino

and a cheap motor driver from sparkfun.com (TB6612FNG from Pololu):

With some work, it's wired up and working properly.. you can see the guts laying here:

But the really cool part is the control mechanism. The brain/controller is all written in C# using Mono and GTK.. so it's Cross-platform (linux, windows, and mac). The reason it needs to be controlled remotely is because neural-networks use a lot of processing power... oh, i said it.. neural net.. my pet projects for the past couple years will get a physical body to control (awesome.. and scary.. at the sametime! Imagine the "death by snu-snu" face for a graphic).

The end goal for this project seemed so far away but every line of code written, wire added, and joint soldered.. is making it feel closer to being obtainable. I'll document that painful process here : )

PS: Doing fine! Working for the Army as a civilian right now. Still dating Kristina. Dan is still my best friend. Temporarily switched to being a coffee lover instead of tea. The Jeep is still functioning. Everything is ok and nothing insurmountable.
Danwarraven on August 20th, 2009 09:27 pm (UTC)

Can't wait to get home so i can actually see the pictures you posted! Work blocks a lot of these images sites :( boo government oversight!
i.: BFFsmousewings on August 21st, 2009 06:15 am (UTC)
Hi Sean! Welcome back!

Robot?! That's way cool.

Too bad about the tea :p ; I've never been able to make the switch.