Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009


UNSW Physclips
has a ton of information about the different types of motors and how they work.

If, on the other hand, you are trying to design your own motor I would suggest Electric Machinery Fundamentals by Stephen J. Chapman

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gazebo Video

Here is a video showing Gazebo in action as a robotics simulation environment.

If you have tried Player/Stage/Gazebo before and hated it for the lack of documentation, try it again. The wiki is now a fairly good source of information.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Musée des arts et métiers

Here are some travel photos from a trip to a Parisian engineering and science museum.

Yes, these gears actually mesh.

Robot Elephant from 1910

Early Quad-Rotor Helicopter Design

Azerty Uiop!!

Next time I'll find Rue Fourier

Tragic Robot News

In Oregon a Stolen Robot was found sleeping with the fishes.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Level Shifting

One of the biggest headaches with building a robot with a large number of sensors is integrating all of the sensors despite the various voltages everything runs at. The motors generally run at battery voltage while the sensors end up usually being both 3.3V and 5V.

Sparkfun has a tutorial about interfacing sensors.

EDN also has a nice article about the problem.

Personally I like to use the TI "Dual Bi-Directional I2C-Bus and SMBus Voltage Level-Translator" Part# PCA9306, also known as Digikey Part# 296-17988-1-ND, for all my bi-directional level shifting.


This is awsome.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Robots from the University of Tokyo's IRT Lab

The IRT lab at the University of Tokyo has a great selection of robots designed to help older humans with their everyday life.

Hopefully when I am old, I will be able to afford my own personal robomaid.

The press release is conveniently available in English.

Unfortunately, the press release for the dish cleaning robot has not yet been translated. Fortunately however, the pictures are pretty clear showing the development of 3-axis MEMS touch sensors which allow the robot to not only determine how much force is being applied to the dish, but also to be able to determine the frictional shear forces on the dish so as to determine if the dish is slipping. There are also some photos showing examples of the computer vision system used for dish identification.

Funny walking machine / robot

If I had a hammer

The telephoto lens test for the Quickcam 9000 Pro Tactical Nerf Targeting System was successful aside from some mounting issues and lack of a tripod.

These Zigbee radio modules, with SPI bus interface, are available for under $10 each from Microchip. Perfect for a simple wireless robot interface.

Texas Tech University has a great robotics website with information as to how to avoid frying your microcontroller by using transistors or optoisolators. Useful when you need to sink more then the 25 mA, or less, that most microcontrollers are capable of. A darlington array is a set of optoisolators which can be used to build a stepper motor control.