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Axiom Robotics: Gigerbot (Update: 4 of 4) with pics and vid

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Rookie ( offline )
Posts: 38
Posted: 2009-07-06 14:28 
Introduction:

Axiom Robotics would like to introduce the "Gigerbot", a tele-operated/autonomous UGV.

I am currently working on my Master's Degree in Computer Science Information Systems, and for my final project, I am building a robot that can be controlled over the internet/network using a web application. The significance of this project is to show how web technologies can be used to control a robot from long distances. In essence, a user could log into a web page and begin driving a robot that is halfway around the world. As an added bonus, the robot will be capable of operating in an autonomous mode free from human interaction, but when a human operator needs to intervene, the robot can revert back to tele-operation control.

The robot is controlled by a unique open source architecture that I have designed and successfully implemented using Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Java. This is accompanied by a netbook sitting on a Lynxmotion Tri-Track kit that has been highly modified using SES parts, and custom plate designs, all coupled with a wireless IP camera, and Phidget Microcontrollers. Essentially, the Gigerbot is a mobile webserver capable of running on its own, or from outside directives. All of the data and operations are pushed down to the robot's level, and the operator's computer does not need to do any calculations whatsoever. This allows the operator to only need a web browser to control the robot. I am also working on a way to use a Logitech gamepad to interface with the web application and control the robot using this device. I am trying to replicate a FPS (First-Person-Shooter) style interface inside a web application. As far as my research has shown, this has not been done by anyone else...

The robot has been named "Gigerbot" after H.R. Giger, one of my favorite artists who has given me inspiration for the project.

Below are some photos of the current prototype, of which I will be further developing over the coming months to complete my project requirements for a December 2009 graduation (finally!!!).

Photos:

This shows the three microcontrollers and the DC/DC converter mounted on the electronics tray:



Here you can see the electronics tray installed along with the battery, motors, and assorted data and power cables:



In this photo you can see the four IR distance sensors before attachement:



Another view:



Front view:



Here you can see the Asus netbook:



Front view (again):


User Screen Cap:



System Development Diagrams:









Video:



Hi-Res Version (747 Mb)

Streaming Version on Vimeo

Hardware Highlights:

ASUS Eee PC 901 XP
Zonet ZVC7630W Wireless IP Camera
Sharp GP2D12 IR sensors
Servo City DDT540H Pan/Tilt
Great Planes 8-Cell 9.6V 1800mAh NiMH
Powerstream 5 volt DC/DC converter (converts 9.6v to 5v for webcam)
Phidget Microcontrollers
Hitec HS-925MG
Hitec HS-311

Lynxmotion parts:

Multi-Purpose Sensor Housing
Gear Head Motor
Track - 2" Wide
Aluminum Hex Standoffs (F/F) - 1-1/2" x 1/4"
Track Sprocket - 6 Link
Passive Idler Hub - 2"
Universal Hub - 6mm
Nylon Bushings for Track
Aluminum Square Bars - 3.0" x 1/4"
Steel Socket Head Screws - 5/8" x 4-40
Steel Socket Head Screws - 1/2" x 4-40
Steel Socket Head Screws - 3/8" x 4-40
Steel 4-40 Washers - 5/16" x 4-40
Steel 4-40 Nuts - 1/4" x 4-40
Aluminum Hex Standoffs (F/F) - 1-15/16" x 1/4"
Base Rotate Kit

Custom plates:

The chassis/tread plates were based on the Tri-Track chassis, and have been cut out of 0.1" aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. I was going to go for titanium, but that would be a little too expensive.

Electronics and Software:

After searching for months for the right microcontrollers, I finally stumbled upon these:

Servo microcontroller: controls camera pan/tilt
Motor microcontroller: controls skid steering for two motors
Sensor microcontroller: reads data from 5 Sharp infrared sensors, turns on LEDs, and detects switch positions

The Phidgets development team has been working hard over the past few years to make its product much more developer friendly. Currently, the microcontrollers in the Gigerbot can be programmed with the following languages:

Adobe Director, AutoIT, C#, C/C++, Cocoa, Delphi, Flash AS3, Flex AS3, Java, LabVIEW, MATLAB, Max/MSP, Microsoft Robotics Studio, Python, REALBasic, VB 6.0, VB .NET, VB Script, Visual C/C++/Borland

Software Architecture:

The large number of languages gave me a lot of flexibility in designing my control structures and I finally decided on keeping my pertinent data in a MySQL database that can be controlled via PHP on the user's side, and controlled via Java on the robot side. I have designed a write/refresh architecture that constantly polls the database every 20 milliseconds to see where the user is telling the robot to go. So far the results are great considering I did not have to write an entire data concurrency application to keep all of the data fresh and accurate.

Check out my website at: Axiom Robotics


Last edited by honkweed on 2009-08-02 20:42, edited 4 times in total.

New ( offline )
Posts: 1
Posted: 2009-07-23 19:41 
 Post subject: Nice Robot!
Hey man, you have a nice bot there. 8)

Good luck in the contest.

So do you like Full Throttle?

:D


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Posts: 3578
Posted: 2009-07-23 19:49 
Nice bot and beautiful pictures! Looking forward to the video.

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Posted: 2009-07-23 20:05 
I can relate to the rubberband. :wink:

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Posts: 38
Posted: 2009-07-24 11:06 
SN96 wrote:
Nice bot and beautiful pictures! Looking forward to the video.


Video has now been loaded up on my server, and the links are in my original post. Let me know if anyone has codec problems, or the files are just too big. I tried to put the video on YouTube, but apparently I don't own the rights to the kickin' metal track I used for the video...

I wish I had something other than a rubber band, but that's all I can figure out at this point. Maybe I need to get a black rubber band so that it doesn't stand out as much! :D


Guru ( offline )
Posts: 2251
Posted: 2009-07-24 11:48 
I've been interested in internet control of various gizmos for a long time. On your project I would use a USB video capture device attached to the netbook along with a webcam program on the netbook instead of a seperate wifi cam. From my tinkering control doesn't have to use complex programming. The heart of the below pan/tilt cam (one vbscript and one applet) is a cgi batch file and a small .com program on the server computer. A fairly simple .exe application can be used for control and query to get returned info from the bot. To me the ideal setup would be capable of being controlled via web enabled cell phones.

http://web.comporium.net/~shb/wc2000-PT-script.htm
http://web.comporium.net/~shb/ezservo1.htm

_________________
Why I like my 2005 rio yellow Honda S2000 with the top down, and more!
http://youtube.com/watch?v=pWjMvrkUqX0
http://youtube.com/watch?v=qfyRA-g1nhI
http://web.comporium.net/~shb/S2000video.htm


Last edited by zoomkat on 2009-10-28 03:18, edited 1 time in total.

Rookie ( offline )
Posts: 38
Posted: 2009-07-24 12:31 
I posted a link to a streaming version of the video on Vimeo. I didn't realize how many people don't have Quicktime. I'm on a Mac, so I don't really think about stuff like that anymore... :D

Regarding Zoomkat's comment about the camera, I had considered a USB camera, but my initial testing didn't yield fast enough frame rates, nor did it handle fast movements well. I need 640x480, low compression, and 20+ frames per second, so I chose an IP cam instead. I also didn't want to have to send the video through another medium since this incurs latency.

The camera provides decent video playback, and it is almost real time. I would say that there is a delay of less that 200 ms. The camera also has a nice feature of adjusting the frame rate due to network performance.


Guru ( offline )
Posts: 2251
Posted: 2009-07-24 15:07 
"640x480, low compression, and 20+ frames per second", you are going to need a really fat pipe on the internet if internet use is desired. Have you actually achieved this on an internet connection?

_________________
Why I like my 2005 rio yellow Honda S2000 with the top down, and more!
http://youtube.com/watch?v=pWjMvrkUqX0
http://youtube.com/watch?v=qfyRA-g1nhI
http://web.comporium.net/~shb/S2000video.htm


Rookie ( offline )
Posts: 38
Posted: 2009-07-24 15:33 
zoomkat wrote:
"640x480, low compression, and 20+ frames per second", you are going to need a really fat pipe on the internet if internet use is desired. Have you actually achieved this on an internet connection?


Not yet, but I've got a location in mind, and I'll be testing the control over the internet. The control aspect of the network throughput is actually low, so not much speed is needed. The camera adjusts for network delay accordingly.


Rookie ( offline )
Posts: 38
Posted: 2009-08-02 20:45 
I posted some system development diagrams to help explain how the system works. I tried to outline it from the top down, and not focus so much on the code (just yet).


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Posts: 1
Posted: 2009-08-04 09:00 
I think you should add a robot arm with a water gun to attack pets with!!


Rookie ( offline )
Posts: 38
Posted: 2009-08-04 11:44 
bluesteel wrote:
I think you should add a robot arm with a water gun to attack pets with!!


Now that you mention it, I was trying to put a paintball/airsoft gun on there. I have some wily animals that definitely need a squirt or two from a water source!

The turret would need some more space to mount the weapon and then there would be a lot of recoil for the camera. I am planning on adding a laser though, which could at least get the cat interested.


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Posted: 2009-08-07 01:04 
You should take a quick look at some OpenCV for quick face detection using the cam. :) I can help! ~~ Brazzles


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Posted: 2009-08-07 08:51 
I dunno Brazzles...I may stick with Java for now...since Processing has such an appeal.


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Posted: 2009-08-07 12:58 
honkweed wrote:
Maybe I need to get a black rubber band so that it doesn't stand out as much! :D


Perhaps black nylon velcro straps would work.

_________________
Mike

The robotics nut.


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