go:toTrash – Live testing


Our control-input to steer the motors was through a Python-terminal


We placed a temporary emergency-stop on top of the trashcan to cut the power. In the future we will use a piezo-element to detect and trigger emergency-stop when someone is hitting the trashcan.


We did test go:toTrash inside at first to get ea feel about how the platform worked.
It worked great, so we tried to force it and learn its limits.


We also did some testing outside. go:toTrash also met a collegue on it’s way, a compression-trashcan.

We also did some testing on the paving stone, we discovered that go:toTrash were more stable on the pavement than we first thought.

RoBot (IRC-Bot, More than just chat)

RoBot is a IRC-bot that fades the boundarys between the online-world and the physical. At CRF (Chalmers Robotics Society) we have that problem that people is to busy making robots that we dont notice the IRC-messages that are coming in on our TV-computer. RoBot is looking for certain keywords in the #CRF-channel. So if anyone really want attention in the workshop all they has to do is write tvdatorn (swedish for tv-computer) and blue lights will start flashing and a buzzer will beep.

RoBot (IRC-bot that connects)

RoBot is a IRC-bot that fades the boundary’s between the online-world and the physical. At CRF (Chalmers Robotics Society) we have that problem that people is to busy making robots that we don’t notice the IRC-messages that are coming in on our TV-computer. RoBot is looking for certain keywords in the #CRF-channel. So if anyone really want attention in the workshop all they has to do is write “tvdatorn” (swedish for tv-computer) and blue lights will start flashing and a buzzer will beep.

This is how the workshop looks like and when the lights turn on.

J.K.Abrams has built a device to trigger external devices with 5V from the LPT-port (also known as the Printer-port). He uses a Darlington-amplifier to amplify the signal-outputs from the 8 output-pins on the LPT.
The 5V output can be used to drive a relay that triggers a blue flashing light for example, or a buzzer.

J.K.Abrams LPT-trigger-thingy showing its guts. Eagle-schematics will soon be up…

On CRF’s webpage thare’s a webcam, we have integrated a webbased chat-client for those who don’t use IRC regularly and still want to interact with the people in the workshop.

The source-code and executables for RoBot is available here (VB6 zip), it’s written in Visual Basic 6 and basically acts like an ordinary IRC-client.

I-Are-Bot Ramp

I-Are-Bot needed a ramp so I started working on some prototypes. The idea i got from a forklift, use the weight of the machine to lift. By tilting my servos up an down I can change the angle of the ramp and thereby lift an opponent.
The first two prototypes was discarded as they were too unstable and weak, but the third one turned out pretty well.

The two aluminum profiles attached to the ramp are mounted on the wheel-axis and can be folded. In a angled outright position the ramp touches the side of the gearbox and constrains the ramp to go further down. In a folded state the ramp looks pretty slick, but the ramp prevents the lifting-arm from going up and down. The solution to this was to mount the lifting-arm further up. To do this I’d to build a extra mount, I saw a perfectly good reason to practice my CNC-skills and started CAD:ing.

The ramp can hold much weight, I’ve tried weights around 300g.

The prototypes.

I-Are-Bot’s new PCB

To drive all 6 engines of the same H-bridge is not recommended, it tends to get hot, pretty hot. I was thinking of make a extension card with three H-bridges on it, but then I’d have some weight issues with my bot, it has to weigh less then 500g. The solution was to build a new PCP with htree H-bridges.

Because I never have created a PCB before I was a little bit unsure of how to do it and if I would do any errors. But I’d much help from folks at CRF and it turned out to be a win!

Benjamin at CRF showed me KiCAD which is a great program. It is very user-friendly and you’ll get started quickly. Here’s a great tutorial for KiCAD from CuriousInventor.com.

I drawed the schematics nearly exactly the same as on the Introkit09, but i added two extra H-bridges (L298).

I got a little bit help from Benjamin and Victor to print and make the PCB.

All my resistors and LED’s is surface-mounted so I was a little bit worried that I would have problems while solder. I then watched “Surface Mount Soldering 101″ from CuriousInventor.com and started solder, it turned out to be very easy.

I soldered LED’s with different colors on my PCB, i thought it would be much easier when debuging. I also made up a new ISO for Power-indicators, white LED’s, white! :)