Prog | Electro| Mech

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Saturday, June 2, 2007

My Current Project

Every March, Penn State (Albington campus) hosts a robotics competition called the mini grand challenge. Similar to the real Darpa Grand Challenge, robots must autonomously navigate through a series of waypoints using GPS and visual navigation. The difference is, Penn State course is about half a mile, Darpa's was > than 100 miles. For the 2008 competition, I plan on competing with my robot, SubZero. It's is no where near completion, but it shouldn't be a problem to finish before March 08. It has roughly 3hp worth of motors and weights aout 100 pounds so far. This week I finished of the two H-bridges used for motor control. Because they are relay based, I still have to add some FETS for PWM. Just for the heck of it, I made a simple radio controller based off an aircraft radio (hope the FCC isn't reading this, lol). It's about as low-tech as you can get. For each side, I have a servo pushing a button for full forward or full reverse. This gives me ultra-fast acceleration and quite jerky tractor steering. Other than stripping a few set screws, this hasn't damaged the drive-train so far. As soon as I get a chance, I'll post a video of it in action. Link

Singing Robots Wanted

Makezine has an interesting post up about musical robots performing in NYC. It's unclear as to weather these are real robots or simply radio controlled. Either way, it's an impressive feat to have machines with the dexterity necessary to play instruments. Link

My first true Robot

A couple months ago, I completed my first real robot. It is fully autonomous, meaning that it is not radio/remote controlled like some other "robots" you see on tv. That bugs me to no end when people think nothing of a true industrial robot that saves hours a manual labor and thousands of dollars, but then gawk endlessly at oversize radio-controlled toys. Granted, the average person would still have a hard time building an oversize radio-controlled toy, I just don't think that it them the right to call it a robot.

Prog | Electro | Mech

Hey Everyone! This is the first post in my new blog, Prog | Electro | Mech. In this blog, I will be documenting the build/test progress of my robotic endeavors as well as news from around the robotics world. If you haven't figured it out already, Prog | Electro | Mech stands for the three pillars of robot design. Prog = Programming, Electro = Electronics, Mech = Mechanical. I will be posting stuff a couple times a day normally, but less on busy days.

Check back often,