Teach Your Old
By Robert Doerr
A while back, Sharper Image sold a
personal robot called the RoboScout. It is a
remotely controlled robot that also has
some built-in routines to roam around the
house, act as a security guard, and even welcome guests that may come over. The design of the
robot is really unique and it is a fun robot to own. RoboScout is a simple robot to use and one that
the kids enjoy. It is one that I often bring along when performing robot demonstrations.
Unfortunately by default, there was no easy way to reprogram the robot or make it do anything
other than what came with it.
For a short period, Sharper Image did sell an optional SI983 control box that connected to your
PC with a USB cable. This PC interface would allow your PC to act as a replacement for the RF
remote. A virtual remote control panel was displayed on the screen for controlling the robot. This
feature is extremely handy if the original remote is ever lost since it can do everything the physical
remote could. Included in the option kit was a PCI video capture card so the video feed from the
robot could be seen on the PC to fully emulate the remote. Besides acting as a virtual remote, it was
supposed to allow for programming the robot but there wasn't much documentation or tutorials to
explain how it worked. Here was this great little interface but no one really knew how to use it.
Well, this article will shed some light on that and help you use the optional PC interface to write
scripts that enable RobotScout to accomplish some new tricks.
Before we get started on writing these scripts to program the robot, let’s go over some details
on the robot itself, the use of the remote, and the optional PC interface.
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