Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sensors, Sensors Everywhere

We got back from vacation and what was waiting for us?  Our four new LV-MaxSonar-EZ2 Range Finders to give us a total of five sensors for our robot.  This will give us one looking forward, two at 45 degrees and two at 90 degrees.  The pictures below show how we mounted them.  You may also notice the nice table that our robot is sitting on.  Kailey, my eight-year-old daughter, made it for me this afternoon. 

Below is the diagram of how I wired all of the sensors.  For the actual wiring I have one of the sensors wired on a second breadboard because I did not have enough room to put all five on one small breadboard and I also had an extra breadboard so why try to cram it all on one.

Now you may be asking, what can we do with all those sensors?  One project is going to be to expand on our autonomous robot that we showed in this post and give the robot a much broader view of the world.  The other project we want to do is to have the robot send the sensor readings back to a controller so we can control the robot when we are not in the same room as the robot.  This second project would be useful if the robot was exploring someplace where we could not go like a different planet or small caverns.  I also want to eventually connect a camera to the robot and stream video back.

My concern with the second project is how will we communicate back with the controller.  In some earlier projects I used Bluetooth but I am thinking in the long term that Bluetooth is not going to be the answer for my needs.   I was thinking about adding a WIFI USB adapter however I think the power drain will be too much when I connect the robot to the EasyAcc power bank.  So after thinking about the problem quite a bit and doing a lot of reading, I decided to order a Spark Core.  I ordered it from MakerShed and should be here this week.  The Spark Core has WIFI built in and I can have it act as my communication module that will relay commands from the controller to the BeagleBone Black.  This should also allow us to use our iPhone/iPad to control our robot. 

I am still debating on the language to use for our robot.  If I can offload the communication piece from the BeagleBone to the Spark Core, I will probably use Javascript/Bonescript but I am still considering Python.

No comments:

Post a Comment