What's New

June 10th 2010

Looks like I came back after all...

There was renewed interest in the club to have a Magellan event again this summer so I dusted off my half-baked Navbot...

To speed up the process I ditched my ARM board and just used my x86 portable.

For more details see the Navbot page..

March 23th 2009

Although I've pretty much abandoned the whole robotics hobby in the last 2 years (in favour of teaching myself Bass Guitar) lately I've felt the urge to program again. And what best way to motivate me than by flashing my ARM board with the latest SlugOS5 beta (which now uses EABI so much faster floating point!)

Because I have very limited time to work on this now I have to have better focus. My goal is to be able to participate in the ORE's magellan competition this summer. And to accomplish that i need:

  • Fix that ridiculously low encoder count.
  • Implement a simple, single servo, camera mount that would allow me to switch from looking forward or up into an omni-directional mirror under software control.
  • Install SIR on top of navbot's base to supplement the sonar.
  • Flash PAM with latest version of AVRUSB to see if it's faster. (done)
  • Replace slower software-based USB stack with a hardware one for the PAM module

    January 28th 2008

    I'm back after a long absence... I'm now starting work on NavBot, a GPS navigation robot to compete in the local Magellan competition.
    I'll try to update the page as I progress. For now I'm thinking of simply reusing the guts from SRX2 and transplanting them in the old Xtreme Overkill robot base to save work..

    December 19th 2006

    Started working on a laser range finder (again!). Check it out under Other projects

    November 15th 2006

    Started working on SRX2 this summer, slowly.... I was inspired by the laser ranging article of the SERVO mag and started implementing one prototype. But I quickly ran into the same problem as last time (using a PSD): alignment of optics/sensor/laser is a major Pain in he behind! That would be really nice to have as my SIR module is just not cutting it with it's 12 sensors. And it shows with the Voronoi based navigation algo I'm using. I need more resolution: like 32+ distance readings which a scanning laser ranger would easily give me...albeit at a lower update rate so...you just can't win.

    Anyways, I've updated the SRX2 page with the "final" robot picture and more...

    April 15th 2006

    Competition is over and although I was terribly unprepared and did really bad in the maze I had a blast with my fellow ORE members. I guess it was to be expected when I decided to switch over to a complex and unproven navigation algorithm 1 week before the competition. Looking back I would have done much better with a simpler wall following algorithm or even just a roam behaviour using a few of my extensive motor schemas. I got too zealous and that's ok, I'll do better next time.
    The funny thing is right after the competition I immediately knew what was wrong with my code. I have to admit I was only running on 5-6 hours of sleep most days and wasn't thinking clearly. At least I know what to do next. I'll be taking a break for a few weeks though.
    I'll try to update the page with pictures for your viewing pleasure soon. later...

    February 28th 2006

    Updated SRX2 page with new sections and pictures. More to come...

    August 27th 2005

    Got my IOM USB-to-I2C module working so I was in such a great mood I updated my SRX2 web page.
    More to come soon...

    April 6th 2005

    I've decided not to compete in Trinity this year as I would have had to rush way too much to make it. Instead I'll enjoy this spare time to redesign ONYX, my old neglected Nerf-bot using the same technology I've been playing with for SRX2.
    I'm thinking of using SRX2's new base with the ARM-linux board and a cheap USB camera to do basic vision for tracking targets. I guess we'll how that goes.
    I've already redesigned the gun assembly to fit on an old tilt-pan security camera base so the other Nerf-bots better watch out for my new lighter/faster turret!
    I'll try to find the time to update my robots sections with the new, still-unnamed, robot.

    November 16th 2004

    Long time without any updates again. Well, I was enjoying summer and I recently started toying with a small embedded linux board which I'll be using for my next firefighter SRX2. I'm at the point where I have it booting a custom linux kernel and root disk and I started writing a program to read/write sensor and motor devices via I2C. I'll be starting to code the AI stuff real soon.
    Check out my SRX2 web page for more info as I progress.

    February 22nd 2004

    Ok, Today we had our 2nd Nerf-bot technology demo (ok, a practice!) and my robot ONYX worked much better than last time. I recently discovered that the old 12V 17A battery was dying, thus kept discharging so I replaced it with a smaller spare 5A one for now which, aside from greatly reducing the overall weight of the bot, solved the spontaneous reset problems. I have some serious tweaking to do before the upcoming first competition as the tactical code ONYX is using is the same one as the 3 years old Xtreme Overkill so it's in dire need of updating. I took some quick video shots of the robot in action so keep checking the page for updates.

    January 20th 2004

    Well, the Nerf-bot tech demo was fun as 4 robot were present (including mine) but I ran in a few little problems consisting mostly of spontaneous micro reset and other weird behaviours. I think my power system is in dire need of a redesign as I noticed the trigger servo caused a few resets during testing.
    More details on the ONYX page.

    Pictures and videos should be available soon on the official ORE Nerf-bot page.

    January 13th 2004

    I've added a page to document my Nerf-bot ONYX.

    December 10th 2003

    Well, It doesn't look like I'll make the next Trinity as I've slacked off too much and there's lots of research to do before I have a strong mapping algorithm. The members of the ORE Club started talking about the Nerf-Bot competition again, and even set a demo date for January, so I might work on that for a while and if everything goes well with that I'll jump back in the development of SRX2. You never know, I might just show up at Trinity with a basic entry for the Expert maze anyways.

    I'll soon be adding some info about the revised Extreme Overkill robot (for the Nerf-bot competition).

    September 7th 2003

    Well, I think I've enjoyed summer enough and now that the new Trinity Rules for 2004 are out It's time to start working on the next rev of my robot (ie. SRX2???)

    The new rules (http://www.trincoll.edu/events/robot/) are pretty challenging to say the least! The expert division maze now has a second floor! There's also a rescue task where you can optionally locate a doll and mark its location so a rescue team could theorically find it.

    I'm still working on a few ideas for an algorithm to explore/map an unknown maze. One of them would greatly benefit from having a full 360degrees scan of the area around the robot so I'm going to try my hand at building a laser scanner similar to the team from the University of Buffalo had last year (with a few twists of course!)

    Stay tuned for updates

    April 14th 2003

    I came back from Hartford, CT for the Trinity Firefighting Robot Competition! I finished 14th! I successfully extinguished the candle on all three runs. I even handled the new floor items without a hitch! More info and pictures coming up.

    April 2nd 2003

    Lots more updates on SRX1 page: finalized SCM PCB, Camera hood, Adjust fan height, etc...

    March 27th 2003

    Lots of updates on the SRX1 robot page as I prepare for the final crunch before the Trinity event. Amongst the changes: New wheels and suspension system.

    February 11th 2003

    More updates on the SRX1 robot page. But because of an unfortunate incident I lost most of my full-size pictures. If anybody still have them in their browser's cache please email me.

    January 16th 2003

    Made the Xtreme Overkill robot page public! Check it out at http://overkill.no-ip.org

    January 7th 2003

    Added mega323 and 128 bootloader packages and Serial I/O library to Software section.
    Also updated my SRX1 robot page with new details concerning the AI.

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    Last Updated on: June 10th 2010