NOTE: This is a place for me to jot my thoughts regarding what my next robot will do. Expect many stealth edits.
See CATPOO 2021 — A New Beginning for an overview of the whole project.
I remember when I first started playing with robotics, I was always asked what my goals were. I never had a good answer for that. Here’s my thoughts on a better answer.
The ultimate goal is to learn enough to consider a change of career. My ultimate dream would be to create affordable robotics kits for kids to built their own robots. I remember how much DJGPP and other free software projects helped me when I was starting out. Wouldn’t it be awesome to allow the next generation access to open source technology? Then I feel good for helping kids, while those kids can one day go on to create something more amazing than I could. Everyone wins.
To accomplish my goal, I’ve got vaguely defined constraints. Whatever I create shouldn’t cost more than $500 to recreate. I want to keep the price low enough that any parent can afford to give their kid(s) the tools necessary to learn the fundamentals. With economy of scale, I should be able to get that down to $100 if my idea pans out.
Functionality Related Goals
- Must have a web based UI that works with any browser
- Must be able to see in the dark
- Must use omnidirectional wheels for a holonomic drive
- Power input must be flexible as possible
- Should be lit up like a Christmas Tree
- I’m a web developer, so the UI will definitely be web based
- I’ve enjoyed using Bootsrap for years, so that’s definitely going in there
- Video should take up as much of the view as possible
- Putting the controls on top of the video worked in the past
- It must be able to see a black cat in pitch black darkness
- I’ve had trouble with getting low latency and good frame rates in the past
- Resolution doesn’t need to be very high, but should be at least as good as DVD (480p)
- The illuminator I have works okay with the all the NoIR cameras I’ve bought
- I’m vacillating between 3 and 4 wheels
- No matter what, still have 4 total stepper drivers wired up.
- IR illuminator must be effective at least 3 meters away from the robot
- Getting at the battery was always annoying in previous designs, so make it easy to swap out batteries
- Using a beefy SPDT switch to allow switching quickly between internal and external worked really well in the past
- Don’t worry about designing any advanced charging circuitry
Christmas Tree Aesthetics
- Case should be as clear as possible to allow as much light out as possible
- Engraving designs into the plexiglass might be a fun idea
- The 5″ touchscreen should be used for displaying as much internal information as possible
- Use power regulators with displays showing voltage will be helpful
- Stepper drivers should have LEDs to indicate the following:
- Power (if I’m allowing the stepper drivers to be disabled)
- Power LED for Raspberry Pi
- LED to show whether power is coming from the battery or external