Part 5 - Adding Sensors To Explore The World
By Gordon McComb Arduino
You’ve spent hours designing and building your latest robot creation.
You bring it into your living room, fire it up, and step back. Behold!
Your beautiful new robot smashes into the fireplace and scatters itself
into tiny pieces over the living room rug. You remembered things like
motor speed controls, colorful blinky lights, even a synthetic voice, but
you forgot to provide your robot with the ability to look before it leaps.
In last month’s installment, you learned how to give your ArdBot (or other Arduino-based automaton) the sense of touch and light. Augmenting these basic senses are methods to detect objects in proximity to
your robot — seeing what’s there without having to actually
bump against them.
Proximity detection forms the basis of collision
avoidance — how to keep your bot from crashing into
things in the first place. Collision avoidance takes many
forms. Some of these techniques are designed to detect
objects very close to the robot, while others are made to
detect objects several feet away.
In this installment, you’ll learn about two popular forms
of proximity detection — ultrasound and infrared — and
how these low cost sensors are interfaced and used with
The State of the ArdBot
This article series has been on the construction and use
of the ArdBot (see Figure 1) — an inexpensive two-wheeled
FIGURE 1. The ArdBot Arduino-based expandable robot,
shown with this month’s enhancements: a rotating turret,
ultrasonic distance ranger, and infrared proximity detector.
differentially-steered robot based on the popular Arduino
Uno and compatible microcontrollers. Here’s what past
• Part 1 (Nov ‘ 10) introduced the ArdBot project, along
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