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:
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.