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---
timestamp: "Sat Oct 13 00: 00: 01 -0700 2007"
title: hardware hacks
id: 70
content: |
<p><a
href='http://dev.technomancy.us/phil/wiki/NorbertRobot'>Norbert</a>
is my latest project: a robot that I plan on building up and
programming.</p>
<img src='/i/die_roboter.jpg'
alt='die roboter' title='die roboter' class='right' />
<p>I've got the motor hooked up and running, "mocking out" the control
logic to a pair of switches. The plan is to get my laptop on board
and control the motors through the serial port. Apparently the
circuitry for such a task involves using a UART chip to convert the
serial signals into something usable, which is going to be a bit of
a challenge for me; I haven't worked with ICs before.</p>
<p>Currently Norbert is capable of backward and forward motion as well
as turning, though the limitation of using switches on the chassis
makes control somewhat impractical.</p>
<p>The plan is all laid out in terms of what revisions will include
what features: </p>
<ol>
<li>Simple motion (done)</li>
<li>Turning capability through switches (done)</li>
<li>Platform on which to mount laptop (done)</li>
<li>Laptop controls forward motion</li>
<li>Laptop controls turning</li>
<li>Laptop controls forward/reverse</li>
<li>Autonomy (laptop can be provided with a predetermined path to
follow rather than requiring input each step of the way)</li>
<li>Bump sensors so that it will stop rather than keep pushing into an
unyielding object </li>
<li>... and more brainstorming
on <a href='http://dev.technomancy.us/phil/wiki/NorbertRobot'>the
wiki page</a>.</li>
</ol>
<img src='/i/norbert.jpg' alt='norbert'
title="lil' norbert" />
<p>I drummed up a bit of code for the controller before I had really
decided on parallel vs serial. (I had an old laptop I was
considering using that had an easier-to-interface-with parallel
port, but it was lacking a battery.) Hopefully it shouldn't be too difficult
to modify it to use the <a href='http://ruby-serialport.rubyforge.org'>
ruby-serialport</a> library.</p>
<pre class='code'>
<span class="keyword">class</span> <span class="type">Robot</span>
<span class="type">COMMAND_BITS</span> = [<span class="constant">: right_motor_forward</span>, <span class="constant">: right_motor_backward</span>,
<span class="constant">: left_motor_forward</span>, <span class="constant">: left_motor_backward</span>]
<span class="keyword">def</span> <span class="function-name">go_forward</span>
write_byte aggregate_commands(<span class="constant">: right_motor_forward</span>, <span class="constant">: left_motor_forward</span>)
<span class="keyword">end</span>
<span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">[go_backward and other commands...]
</span>
<span class="keyword">def</span> <span class="function-name">aggregate_commands</span>(*commands)
commands.inject(0) <span class="keyword">do</span> |aggregate, command|
aggregate | bit_place(<span class="type">COMMAND_BITS</span>.index(command))
<span class="keyword">end</span>
<span class="keyword">end</span>
<span class="keyword">def</span> <span class="function-name">bit_place</span>(place)
(2 ** place)
<span class="keyword">end</span>
<span class="keyword">def</span> <span class="function-name">write_byte</span>(byte)
<span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">http://blade.nagaokaut.ac.jp/cgi-bin/scat.rb/ruby/ruby-talk/24605
</span> p = open(<span class="string">'/dev/port'</span>, <span class="string">'w'</span>) <span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">open /dev/port in write mode
</span> p.sync = <span class="variable-name">true</span> <span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">turn buffering off, write to the
</span> <span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">port as soon as it is requested
</span> p.seek(0x378, <span class="type">IO</span>: : <span class="type">SEEK_SET</span>) <span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">move writing cursor to the parallel
</span> <span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">port address
</span> p.putc(byte) <span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">write byte to it and activate
</span> <span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">whatever on your I/O board is
</span> <span class="comment-delimiter"># </span><span class="comment">attached to the D0 pin
<span class="keyword">end</span>
<span class="keyword">end</span>
</pre>
tags: projects
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