Continued from page 23
BASIC Atom Pro 28. By offloading the servo pulse
generation and sequence movement timing to the SSC- 32,
the BASIC Atom has plenty of power.
The included Phoenix program allows the robot to
walk with variable speed in any direction (translation), or
turn in place (rotation), or any combination of the two.
The leg lift and ride height is adjustable, as well as the gait
walking speed. The body can rotate in every axis.
There are preset walking modes and gaits to choose
from. All of these are accessible from the controller.
Lynxmotion recommends the wireless PS2 controller
(RC-01) to get the robot up and running quickly. The
Phoenix code also supports a serial control mode for
controlling the robot via a serial connection. The Phoenix
code was written by Jeroen Janssen.
Programming is already done for the robot. The
control options are: PS2 remote control; Xbee/DIY R/C
stick radio control; and TTL serial control. The robot is
compatible with the NiCad and Ni-MH Universal Smart
Charger batteries and a 6.0 volt Ni-MH 2,800 mAh battery
pack, both available from Lynxmotion.
For further information, please contact:
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or just plain cool? If you have a new product that you
would like us to run in our New Products section, please
email a short description (300-500 words) and a photo of
your product to:
Continued from page 29
DRIVE ME CRAZY
Robot cars are getting pretty good at parking themselves without
crashing, or abducting their passengers. Robot cars also know how to
drive like maniacs and even how to powerslide. These are all very neat
tricks, but what's going to happen when all cars are this “talented?”
It's not just the sensor-driven skills that will soon be common to
individual cars that will shape the future of automotive transportation,
but also the ability for cars to communicate with each other, sharing
constant updates about exactly where they are and where they're
going. With enough detailed information being shared at a fast enough
pace between all vehicles on the road, things like traffic lights will
become completely redundant.
So, how close are we to something like this? It's hard to say. We have cars now that can drive themselves just about as
reliably as a human can, and many automakers are working at inter-car communication. However, there are a lot of legal and
social issues standing in the way of widespread adoption, and it's going to take a concerted effort to provide a framework in
which we can safely allow progress to be achieved.
“The technology is pretty much already there,” says Peter Stone, a computer scientist at the University of Texas at Austin.
Stone is thinking of the advantages for the disabled and elderly who can’t currently drive; for parents who don’t have time to
take their kids to soccer (they can take themselves!); and above all, for traffic safety and the more efficient movement of people
everywhere. It’s one thing, though, to realize that Google engineers
have been zipping through our midst in autonomous concept cars.
It’s another to picture what will happen when we’re all in these
things – when the eye contact and social rules that currently govern
urban driving are replaced by computer systems chatting with each
other. “When they do interact,” Stone says, “it will be at
intersections as much as anywhere else on the road.”
Stone and one of his doctoral students, Kurt Dresner, realized
intersections will change not just because they’ll need to
accommodate driverless cars, but because driverless cars will make
intersections much more efficient. Right now, you might wind up
sitting at a red light for 45 seconds even though no one is passing
through the green light in the opposite direction. You won’t have to
do that in a world where traffic flows according to computer
communication instead of the systems that have been built with
human behavior in mind, however.
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