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From software algorithms to material selection, Mr. Roboto strives to meet you
where you are — and what more would you expect from a complex service droid?
This month, I am continuing with more examples of
programming the chipKIT MAX32 board in MPLAB. Of
course, I’m going to stick with those things that we robot
enthusiasts want to do with our controllers. Let’s begin
with a different topic.
Q. My question is what sort of programming should I start off with in my telerobotic, and how are algorithms implemented into software for real time
— Mustafa M.
14 SERVO 06.2012
A. Your first question on what sort of programming should you start off with is something that is asked so many times that there are websites out there with
plenty of opinions and options galore. My answer is simply
you start with the language (or languages) that you are the
most comfortable with. Depending on exactly what you are
doing with your tele-presence robot, you may be using
more than one language or development environment to
handle your job. Because you are using tele-presence, I’m
assuming that you will be wanting a network — preferably
wireless, but by no means essentially so. To get good
response times, you’ll want a higher powered controller
than a simple line follower robot. Here, once again, we get
into comparisons and opinions.
There are lots of choices out there for your robot
controller that run higher level operating systems like Free-RTOS, RTLinux, and more. Some small boards (BeagleBoard,
Gumstix) will be ARM-based systems running Linux or
another OS or RTOS; some Single Board Computers (SBC)
will be using “big iron” like Intel processors and will be
MUCH higher speed. These latter boards can run full Linux
or Windows operating systems.
Once you get into systems running Linux or Windows,
then your options open way up and you can use your
favorite gcc or Studio development environments; the sky is
the limit. Because I don’t know your application, I can’t
really suggest anything specific. You can do tele-presence
robotics with low cost embedded Linux and RTOS operating
systems if your application is simple enough. There are lots
of ways to get Internet connections with these low-end
boards that have plenty of bandwidth for good response
I’m sure your “Google Foo“ is as good as mine when it
comes to looking up examples of tele-presence robotics, so
I won’t use up paper with example links. There are a LOT of
Q. I belong to a group that is trying to build a robot hat will detect flowers. We originally purchased a camera that would take pictures and then detect
the flowers in the picture. Our camera idea proved to not
work. My team would like to use a tri-colored LED sensor to
find our flowers. I am having trouble understanding how
this will work. Do you have an idea of how our robot could
detect a flower?
A. I think that your group was on the right path using a camera to detect flowers. Since you were using a camera, I am assuming that you are using a computer