Monday, October 29, 2012

Courtesy of Sandy

As I was sitting eating some yogurt on this rainy morning, I realized how much I miss working on my small robot friend TOBL2. Same story as always: school and my innate propensity to occupy my free time with responsibilities. Quick semi-relevant aside: I am loving being a TF this semester! The class just made the transition from the instruction-based part of the semester, to the build-and-test-an-autonomous-hovercraft portion. Already my inbox is being flooded with messages about batteries selection, which sensors to use, how to wire everything up, Arduinos (I know), etc.. In a way this class has curbed my appetite for making things, which is a nice side effect.

Anyhoo, I thought I'd share a video of TOBL2 in his current state. That is, a glorified python-enabled motor controller.

Not my finest cinematography but in the video you can see the directional keys have been mapped to forward, reverse, left, and right. There's a hard-stop function tied to the space bar as well (not shown). In this configuration, there's no speed control (I know booooo) but I will add two keys to increase and decrease speed. A lot of the controller specifics will be tweaked once I get the thing moving and can see what makes the most physical sense.

Speaking of assembling TOBL2, there are two factors impeding that from happening. The first is that no combination of the belts and pulleys I bought seem to work. Even with the nice auto-tensioning, one belt is just way too big and the other stalls the motors from being so tight. I am placing an order for some new smaller pulleys and couple different belt sizes. Selecting those was more scientific that I just made it sound, so hopefully I'll be able to drive this thing finally. The other road block is the wireless issues I've been having. Probably not a big deal, but I don't have much in the way of debugging those issues unless I go to my lab. I'll look into that once I get a working drivetrain.

Welp, thanks Hurricane Sandy for the little break from classes. Time to get caught up on everything else...