Author Archives: Phil Duby

Navigating beyond the reach of GPS

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Found an article about some research to allow navigation / position detection where GPS does not work.  Bigger systems already use this technology, but the research is to develop it for use on small resource and battery life constrained devices, like cell phones.  That will also apply to small, mobile, indoor robotics projects.

Navigating beyond the reach of GPS

Understanding software creation and programming

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This past spring I was doing weekly presentations about how to write programs, using the Arduino for specific examples.  The presentations halted over the summer, when most of those that had been attending had too many other things happening.  People have such *strange* priorities sometimes 🙂  I mean, really.  *I* was there 🙂

I will be starting up the presentations again.  This is a complete restart.  No previous programming, robotics, or Arduino knowledge is required.  Just an interest in learning about programming, especially small computers and micro-controllers that could be used in personal robotics projects.

The sessions will cover general computer science concepts, programming techniques, and the language syntax used for the Arduino microcontroller.  This will vary from concepts that apply to any large or small software development project, down to specifics that only apply to an Arduino board.  This is intended to show some of the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’ of creating programs to solve specific tasks.  The goal is to have small pieces that can be immediately played with, and expand from there.

The first [restarted] session will be at the Aero Space Museum

Saturday October 29 at 1 PM

This will be after our normal WCRS gathering, with enough of a gap to clean things up, get setup again, and maybe have a snack.  The current plan is to run these weekly, at whatever speed the attendees can handle.  There is no fixed list of topics.  How long any specific session goes will also vary depending on how things are going.  Generally an hour, to maybe 2 hours.  Anything more will probably just cause overload and confusion.

No particular materials need to be brought.  If you like to take notes on paper, bring that.  No handouts are planned, but links to web pages are often supplied.  If you want to be able to experiment with the examples shown, you will need a computer with the Arduino software on it.  That can be setup before the start of the presentation if needed.  An Arduino board is also optional.  There are a few boards available that can be shared around, to actually see what the code does.  For as far as the previous presentations got, all of the example programs were only turning on and off LEDs to demonstrate the concepts.  For the first few presentations, the single LED that is built in to ‘typical’ arduino boards is all that will be used.  Expansions on that will be discussed as the presentations progress.  The focus will be on the software, with just enough more to be able to ‘talk to’ very simple hardware.

We will try to adapt to who ever shows up, but knowing ahead of time how many to expect makes preparations easier.  If you plan to attend, please send me an email to let me know.  If you can provide a bit of background, that helps too.  Not just ‘I know nothing about computers’.  Knowing what the audience background really is can make it easier to present the new concepts in terms that are more familiar.  Not looking for a resume, just some indication of areas where the concepts and terminology are well known.  Whether that is mechanic, cosmetician, CEO, arcade games, baseball, cooking, or a host of other subjects.


Phil
remove the 3 un references
unphilduby at unphriendly . unnet
::darn junk mail and email address harvesters anyway

Hex Bugs Nano Micro Robot Remote Control Toys Toy Fair 2010 Preview

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A YouTube video showing [advertising] a whole family of micro sized robots.  A few similar to some of these have been seen at the Saturday morning gatherings.  Others from the family are new [to me].

Hex Bugs Nano Micro Robot Remote Control Toys Toy Fair 2010 Preview

Various methods of locomotion.


Phil

GPS Receivers Now Small Enough to Attach to [almost] Anything

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I found a news article about a GPS receiver that is smaller than a penny, and weighs only 0.3 grams.  Even with support electronics for data logging, remote downloading, scheduling, and battery, it still only comes to 10 grams.  This may not be quite small enough to attach to insects, but they are designed to be used to track the foraging habits of bats.

I could not see any pricing on the manufacturer ? website, but that is small enough that weight and power requirements should no longer be a limitation for adding position sensing to almost any robotics project.

GPS Receivers Now Small Enough to Attach to Literally Anything

Definitely something to check into for our rocketry members. A 10 gram payload weight should be doable.  If added to an existing sensors / recording package, it could add as little as 0.3 grams.


Phil

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A news item for you.  Theoretical research on walking, running, and the transition from one to the other.  Nothing directly useful here for awhile, but if/when this gets better developed, it means that a legged robot can stably walk and run without needing a lot of sensors and fine control over the real time position of each moving part.  Instead the mechanical design of the leg, plus fairly simple control over the angle that the leg meets the ground gives good control.  Major reduction in sensors, feedback, and needed processing power.

Exploiting the Passive Dynamics of a Compliant Leg to Develop Gait Transitions

The article also includes a link to a link, that would allow buying the full 6 page Physical Review Article.


phil