Started November 2015
Last Update December 2016
RADley is the biggest physical and most complicated attempt I have made at a hobby robot. I’ve done nearly all the things that I am doing here before, but only one at a time or a few together. With RADley I hope to merge most of what I’ve learned into one platform to have around to work with and enjoy… or get really, really frustrated with.
I’ve done various things like dead reckoning, accelerometer/gyro use, PC integration for voice controls and speech, multiple sonar sensors for item location and tracking, GPS reading and targeting, IR remote control, light tracking and following, RGB LED use for eyes and mouths including blinking for personality presentation, and other animation and sensor uses and more. They are all easy enough to break into subsystems, but getting them all into one brain is really a completely different process from what I’ve done before. One would like to think that it’s just a bunch of sub systems so put them all on and tie them together. I don’t think it’s quite that easy as the “tying them all together” part is the biggest challenge I see coming up.
Time will tell if once again I get overwhelmed and bored since it’s not as silly as my other stuff or keep pecking away at it subsystem by subsystem.
Overall Goals and Features
I always hate stating “goals” for a hobby project like this as most of my projects meander around until something end up sticking, but I do have some vision of what I want to see feature set wise, and what the end result should look and act like. So with that in mind I envision RADley as a mobile robot that sits in the corner on his charging stand most of the time but is still able to be talked to while charging. He will respond to preset voice commands like my “Head Bot” projects do but will have more commands available for motion activities, modes, moods, etc. To back up the voice commands an IR receiver will be used as voice isn’t always possible with noisy real world situations.
He should be able to navigate reasonably well keeping from getting stuck as much as possible. He should have a general idea of where he is at from his base by dead reckoning and a compass with possible GPS info for a general idea of where he is in the world / house. He should be able to “hear” sounds and have a general idea of which direction the loudest area is at as well as see light levels to know where it’s the brightest or dimmest area or direction is.
He should have some “personality” including realistic feeling “blinking” eyes, rotating head and other means of expressing some type of basic emotion with the limited hard movements that he has to deal with. This could be through sound effects, animated antennae, and overall posture and positioning.
He should be able to eventually locate his charging base and connect to it based on some form of trigger, preferably self motivated either by darkness or low battery conditions but also by voice or IR command. I have a Wii sensor I hope will make this easier but I’ve actually never used it before so we will see if I actually can make it work.
So those are the basic ideas behind RADley and I’m sure more will develop along the way and very likely some ideas will be dropped when I can’t make them actually work.