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  1. More LEGO Mark Green School of Creative Media

  2. Introduction • Now that we know the basics its time to look at putting some robots (or toys) together • Look at how we can put theory into practice • A few examples to get you thinking about things that you could build

  3. New Tippy • Our tippy robot didn’t work very well • By braking after each collision it responded better, but it still kept bumping into things • It would be better if the robot turned before it can into things • This means we have to know when something is in front of us

  4. Light Sensor • We can use the light sensor for this • The light sensor measures the amount of light that it receives • When we are close to an object, light will reflect off of it from the LED • Remember the light sensor has a red LED, this serves as a light source • Lets see how this works

  5. Light Sensor • The light sensor measures the amount of light it receives • With nothing in front of the robot, this is just the room’s light level • Assume that the room is relatively dark, so this light level will be fairly low • When we get close to an object, the LED will reflect off it giving a higher light reading

  6. Light Sensor • To see how this works I put together a simple program that reads the light sensor and displays the value on the RCX display • Start with a light sensor, set its range to 0 to 100, the full range of the light sensor • Use a display value block to show the value of the light source on the RCX display

  7. Light Sensor Program

  8. Light Sensor • With this program running I walked around the room and noted the light values • Most of the time the light was in the low 30s or less • When I got close to an object it was in the high 30s or even the 40s • By looking at the light sensor value we can see if we are close to an object

  9. New Tippy • This suggests a new Tippy robot • I remove the touch sensor, since we don’t need it now • I added a plate to the top of the RCX extending out the front • The light sensor is attached to this plate, so it is in front of the rest of the robot

  10. New Tippy

  11. New Tippy • The light source tells us when we need to avoid a collision • When the value is greater than 35 there is likely to be a collision • In response we could do the same thing as in the previous program • Back up, turn a bit, and then go forward again, this will work

  12. New Tippy • With the light sensor we can do a lot better • The light sensor value tells us if there is an obstacle in front of us • We can turn until there are no obstacles • We can turn until the light sensor has a normal value • In our case we turn until the light sensor is 33 or less

  13. New Program

  14. New Program • When the light value is greater than 35: • The robot stops • It moves backwards for 0.5 seconds • It turns until the light value is less than 33 • A repeat block is used to turn until the light value is less than 33 • We could also use a wait-for block to do the same thing

  15. Results • This robot produces more interesting motion: • It stops and turns before it runs into things • It turns until it will avoid obstacles, it doesn’t go smashing into another object because it didn’t turn enough • This makes the robot look more intelligent, and it doesn’t come apart from crashing into things!

  16. Mobile Platform • The next example is motivated by several things: • A one motor motion platform, can use the second motor for other actions • A platform for a small mobile camera, a wireless security camera ($250 at a stall in Temple Street), runs on a 9 volt battery • Produce a simple platform of the camera

  17. Mobile Platform • Aim is to have robot wander through room collecting video • The video will then be used as a video texture in our VR system • A way of importing the real world into a VR piece • Would like to have the camera rotate as the robot moves

  18. Mobile Platform • Need to be able to go forward and turn with a single motor • Know that we need a differential to do this, but haven’t really tried it yet • Start investigating some designs that will do this for us • Start by fitting a motor and differential onto a simple 4 wheel frame

  19. First Try • First try is long and thin • The motor and differential are at the back of the robot • The RCX and light sensor are at the front of the robot • Does a good job of going forward, but doesn’t turn (more on this later)

  20. First Try • Aim of the first try is to get the differential right, then worry about turning and other things • Need a crown gear on the motor to change direction of rotation, motor is aligned along the long axis of the robot • But, cannot connect the crown gear directly to the differential, motor is too close

  21. First Try • Need to put another gear in between to get enough room for the differential to turn • Also need to ensure that all the gear line up correctly • If everything isn’t aligned correctly and solid the differential won’t work, the wheels won’t spin • I had several versions of this mistake

  22. First Try

  23. First Try

  24. First Try

  25. First Try • After several attempts the first version was produced • Need to be careful to have all the gears and differential solidly in place, no movement • Positioning the ratchet was a bit difficult since the differential was right at the back for the robot

  26. First Try • Used the Tippy2 software to test this robot • Without the ratchet the robot goes forwards and backwards quite well • Need to have a smooth surface • With ratchet the robot can’t turn! • The one rear wheel stops spinning, but the other one just spins in place • What went wrong??

  27. First Try • All our previous robots had two wheels and this turning approach worked okay • The new robot has four wheels • The two front wheels prevent the robot from turning • We can’t do this with a four wheeled robot, we need another design • Don’t want to use two wheels if we can avoid it

  28. Second Try • There needs to be some way of turning the robot • Remove the two front wheels, they prevent the turning • Replace them with a caster wheel, a wheel that can rotate about the vertical axis • Now the front of the robot can spin, so it can make a turn

  29. Second Try • The caster wheel makes the front of the robot quite high • Replace the two small back wheels with the largest wheels • This raises the back end so the robot is almost level • Also gain some room to reinforce the motor on the bottom

  30. Second Try

  31. Second Try

  32. Second Try

  33. Software • Time to modify the software • Since the wheels are bigger, this robot goes faster than the previous one • Set the power level to 6, so it goes a bit slower in the forward direction • In reverse the power level is set to 8, this helps it turn the caster wheel

  34. Software • The light sensor is a bit simpler since there is only one motor to control • It now plays a tune while it is trying to turn, this is a helpful debugging aid, know when the robot has got itself stuck • Software is still fairly simple

  35. Software

  36. Results • Still doesn’t quite work the way I want it to • It now turns quite well, even when it is moving forward • The caster wheel tends to turn when moving forward, giving some interesting behaviors • Still have trouble turning when backing up • If caster wheel is pointing straight forward it is hard to turn

  37. Results • But, the backward turn works at least part of the time, and the robot doesn’t get stuck as often • New problem, the robot tends to tip over • The front wheel doesn’t give it enough stability, so it sometimes turns over when it hits an obstacle • This is not particularly good

  38. Possible Solution • Instead of using wheels we could use tracks • This will provide more stability, don’t need to worry about the robot tipping over • Not sure if the differential is strong enough to drive the tracks, may not work • We have something that sort of work, maybe look at this approach later

  39. Camera Brick • We want to attach the camera to the robot, how are we going to do this? • We want the camera to be a LEGO block, but it really isn’t • Would like to fit it onto a model like any other LEGO brick • Need a mechanical interface between the camera and LEGO

  40. Camera Brick • There are several ways that we could approach this problem: • Tape the camera to a LEGO brick, this would work, but its not too stable • Drill a hole through a LEGO brick and attach the camera to it, this destroys a brick if it doesn’t work • Make a frame for the camera out of LEGO blocks, camera may not be the right size for this

  41. Camera

  42. Receiver

  43. Camera Brick • The bracket on the bottom of the camera has three holes • These holes line up with the holes in beam • One of these holes is large enough for an axle, so the first solution was to put an axle through the hole and beam and fasten it • This sort of worked, but the camera could still move around a lot

  44. Camera Brick • After some experimentation, the best solution was found to be a twist-tie threaded through the other two holes • These holes are quite small, so this is one of the few things I could find that would go through them • Doesn’t look pretty, but we know have a camera attached to a LEGO beam

  45. Camera Brick • One problem left, the beam is facing sideways so it can’t be attached to other bricks • This doesn’t help us, we need to attach the camera to our robot • This can be solved using a 2x2-2x2 angle bracket (there are two in the Mindstorms kit)

  46. Camera Brick • The bracket is attached to the beam, and then a standard 2x2 brick is attached to it • This provides a little stand for the camera and it can now be attached to the top of the RCX • We now have our robot mounted camera, but does it actually work??

  47. Camera Brick - Front

  48. Camera Brick - Back

  49. RoboCam

  50. RoboCam