… because, why not?
A few months back, I found myself in a position where I needed to develop a proof of concept for a CAN bus data logging system, but the hardware hadn’t been finalised. At the time, there were talks of using x86-based hardware, which would eventually communicate with the CAN bus via an SPI CAN controller. Unfortunately the dev board was on back-order and I wanted to keep the project moving. Continue reading
A project I contributed to while I was at Smith Electric Vehicles working on the embedded software for the vehicles’ on-board telematics devices:
SmithLink, advanced telemetry from Smith Electric Vehicles – YouTube.
So the results of the hackathon were released yesterday, and I must say, we’re very happy with how things turned out. We were placed 4th against some very tough competition, and were given an honourable mention by the organisers:
Before naming the three winners, we would like to give a give a honourable mention toteam Telemetron. They created an outstanding robotic behaviour and actively participated and documented their project throughout the week. They were also very active on Twitter. As a result they submitted by far the best documentation. – Cloud Robotics Hackathon 2013 Continue reading
So today is the day of the deadline and everything has actually come together quite nicely.
@tobypinder and I have been working on this separately since friday, using only the Internet to communicate (in the spirit of the Hackathon and all that). He did a great job with the web front end allowing us to carry out a test run with the robot transmitting live data this afternoon. There were a few hiccups with turn angles and things, but once they were ironed out, the results relatively good! Continue reading
What? There’s only 24 hours in a day now?
So my original aim to post daily updates hasn’t quite worked out. Myself and @tobypinder have been fitting this project in around ‘real’ work, so every spare minute has been spent working on the robot, not leaving much time to actually write about it! Continue reading
Today, in short, I made the robot work as a roamer. I’ve been chasing bugs all day, but finally got it working (almost) exactly how I want it. The video below shows how it was this afternoon, I’ve since tweaked some parameters and ironed out some bugs in the CAN transmission side of things so it now doesn’t get confused when it enters a wide open space with all the sensors reading maximum range. Continue reading
SO this year it seemed fate wouldn’t allow me to get my usual annual robotics fix through Eurobot; I’m at uni the week of the UK competition studying for my masters.
Instead, myself and a couple of colleagues have decided to put a few days work into the Cloud Robotics Hackathon. The theme this year surrounds remote robot monitoring, which, given our involvement in a telematics project at work, suits us down to the ground.
Project: Remote Simultaneous Localis(z)ation and Mapping (SLAM) using cloud services
The plan is to convert the robot we entered into Eurobot last year to transmit data to the ‘cloud’ web service, myrobots.com. It will roam around a room, scanning its path with infrared sensors, and transmit these readings along with encoder readings. This information will then be used to construct a map of the robot’s environment. Myrobots will be used to display robot status information, and alerts about changes in the environment. Continue reading
Now we’re in the ‘lull’ between the finals and the new rules being released, I thought it would be good to analyse what didn’t quite go to plan this year, and how it can be rectified for next year.
First of all, I stand by the philosophy that we did all we could in the time available. Unforeseen and uncontrollable delays with funding meant that we were still putting the hardware together right up to the week of the competition. This meant that we had much less time practising on the competition table than I would have liked, which meant that we ended up competing with un-calibrated software.
Aside from this, there was some behaviour that stemmed from our choice of hardware. The motor controllers were chosen more for their relevance to our current research interests, rather than their suitability for use as drive controllers. We chose them because they were the only low-powered motor controllers that we could find that could be controlled over a CAN-bus. They were designed to be used independent controllers for positioning motorised arms, etc, rather than the continuous wheel application that we had for them. This meant that they are very good at controlling the speed of their assigned wheel, but are unaware of how fast the other wheel was travelling. Having used dual motor controllers in the past, I didn’t realise quite how significant this would be. If we want to stick with the CAN-bus (which is a beautiful, beautiful system!) and these motor controllers, there are some problems we need to overcome Continue reading
After an intensive week of testing on the competition table at Middlesex University (our only time with the table) our team, “R.Me.R.T”, placed 5th overall which, although not taking us to the world finals in France, was an excellent result considering the timescale of the build. The robot passed the approval phase in time to take part in all four qualification matches. Continue reading