While I feel I have enough skills to get by in building some of my robot I’m certainly a way off of being well rounded within the field. I have enough skills in the R/C field to work with basic chassis design, enough programming skill to work with basic programming and enough electronics skills to figure out minor nuts and bolts in that area.
One thing that I haven’t done any of is realtime programming with I/O. That’s basically the core of robotics. So I’m going to have a learning curve there, but thankfully, as with most of my mad scientist schemes, I’ve found lots of help online. For the time, being my robot is going to be a simple avoider. Drive around and don’t bump into stuff is going to be its primary goal. While that may not sound like a particularly useful robot, it’s a great way to get started with a very basic idea that many people have accomplished before. The advantage there is community support.
For example, I found a wonderful article on using I/R sensors to detect obstacles. While that’s what these sensors were designed for in the first place, the article goes into the nitty gritty offering several suggestions to avoiding weaknesses while maximizing the advantages of the Sharp I/R platform. I think this is the direction I’m going to go in to give my robot a sense of what’s around it. The only other option I’m looking at at the moment are ultrasonic sensors. They’re a bit more accurate and harder to fool, but a bit more expensive so I’m not 100% sure yet.
Stay tuned for more…