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Cybernetics: Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Blog


It’s been awhile, but I have been really busy on various projects, and learning lots of new things. I have some new projects in the works, and have some updates.  I have been working on getting better at PCB Design and Etching process, that we learned at the TLN Makerspace.  It took a few tries, but I have the process down pat now.  Learning the parts layout, and size of traces, and many times of re-routing and autorouting traces, was tedious, but well worth it. There will be some evidence of that work on this site.

I’ve also come around to making progress on another robot platform I’ve had over the years…the chain-drive, copper frame robot, which is now named, “Rogue”. I will show some pics of it’s current setup.  I’m at the stage now of making it run around doing motion control routines, and also adding an IR Sensor for it to avoid obstacles.  I wrote some test code on my custom designed BB Arduino, and it is working, except the sensor has a bit of a wiring issue. I’ve fixed these before, so I’ll get it done, and post update about Rogue’s progress.

I’ve also got another project on the go. It’s a tank robot, that Rik, of the TLN, printed for me using the MakerBot 3D Printer. It’s out of ABS plastic, and green neon with black treads. Really Badass!  We had the opportunity to attend a ComicCon convention called FloridaSuperCon, and wanted to have some other bots on display, but I didn’t get it done in time. I just finished adding some voltage regulators,  1 variable, and another fixed 5v. The variable is for the motors from 9v to about 5v or so…and the 5v fixed is for the logic ICs (micro, etc.). I tested the motors using 12v, and 5v, and made a video of it. This maybe seen below.  I will be mounting the boards and doing a couple more motion tests, then on to sensors. It’s essentially using the same code as Rogue right now. I will post updates about this soon.

I’ve completed a few PCB boards, and they are working well. They are the BB Arduino, Low Power Motor Driver, board for Quadrature Encoder/IR Sensors, a combination board for Motor Driver and Quadrature Encoder/IR sensors, and some other “experiments”.  My latest design, is a power regulator board, and seems to be working quite well.

I have just finished a couple other bare bones Arduino for other projects, and motor controller. I’m working on the design on the LM298 Motor Controller board for some heavier duty motors, for the Boat project.

More updates soon.

GTank: TankBot Motor Test Video


I’ve been working on several projects since my last real post. It’s overdue for an update, and it has certainly been interesting.  I had setup a CVS Server, to house my software projects. However, since I’ve been using SVN at work, and that has been the evolution from CVS, or maybe GitHub.  So I have been setting up a remote SVN Server for my robotics and other project codes. The server has been set up, and I’ve but been playing around with hardening the Server (ie. Firewall, etc.).  I’m still playing around with the settings, and testing, but I’m almost there, and it will be fully functional real soon.

I have been experimenting with the GPS Module I have acquired, and the sensors for Max (ie. Ultrasonic/IR).  It has been fun.  I’ve also been experimenting with the Odometry sensors, on a test jig, and tuning the ccts.  Some other experiments are with Linux, and Android as they may apply to Robotics.

I have also created a couple of Arduino boards, and playing around with how small I can build it. If I have some sort of SMD or QFN Package, that would be cool. It’s fun, and more like a challenge, but…been there, done that. So maybe I’ll create a PCB prototype, or just modify my prototype AVR board to accommodate the Arduino design. You can check my latest prototypes in the HERE.

The Sun Bots Site is being redesigned, and will also have more updated pictures and info, pertaining to the latest, of the latest…There are a few features in mind, and some new directions I want to take the group/club, but we’ll see…

At The Learned Nerd (TLN) Makerspace, we are looking into working on some other projects, including Guitar Amp, Arduino projects, Odometry, Metal Detectors, and lots more.

Sensor Fusion, Machine Learning, Algorithms, AI, Robotics for several new applications, etc…There are lots more in the works, but that’s all for now. I will update again soon…ABCYA!  Hope you’ll come back soon…y’here?

Here’s a pic from my phone of Max as it is now. Small pic, but I’ll add some more, better pics soon. Enjoy!


I rewired and relocated the motor controller and the micro board. Now all the boards are off the base platform and mounted on the frame scaffolding. This is a much cleaner arrangement and frees up some space for the batteries.
There are a couple more changes to do, so I’ll get to it, and make some more progress.
More updates coming soon.

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I’ve mounted the IR and US Sensors, and have done some coding, to get the data. The data is being streamed via the UART, but that may go away, or be used mainly for debugging telemetry data.  I will be working on the control logic soon, once I build the data stream correctly.

The sensors that are mounted, will be exposed through the body of the robot. I just need to make the measurements, and make cut out the openings.

The sensors are on lower front (IR), side (US), and another on the top front (US) of the body. The top front, I am still trying to decide if I want it to incline, be on some type of motorized tilt, to scan up and down/left and right.

I will update again soon…



I have changed up the tubing stand-offs that cover the threaded rods on Max.

Also, some “scaffolding” have been added where the different components are mounted, such as the sensors and cct boards.

A new power regulator was also finished and added which improved the power issues.

So now Max is running nice. Some adjustments to the speed was needed for motion tests.

Will have the sensors connected and working soon. Stay tuned for new pics and more updates.

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I’ve added a 12v battery to Max to power the additional modules. Also added a nice blue light strip, for cool visual effects. Pics to follow soon, so stay tuned.

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For UltraMega, I fixed some sensor wiring issues, and debugged the motor control code.  It’s now in working order.

So now, 2 IR sensors mounted on the front are working, which is sufficient.  So when left or right sensor is triggered, the appropriate evasive behavior is invoked.  So if the left sensor is triggered, Mega backs away from the left. And if the right sensor is triggered, Mega backs away from the right.  Just some simple maneuvers to test.   The previous avoidance code will also be reviewed, and rolled in.

Next will be looking at the odometry sensors, to make sure everything is working properly.  Will update again soon.

I am finishing up the speakjet project. I just have a few additions to make, and then test it out on a regular AVR, and then the Arduino.  It will be good to hear it speak, and make sound fx.

Will update again soon…

I’ve made some good progress since my last post. I’ve finally screwed down the motor driver, encoder, micro boards, and also secured the batteries and power strip.

The XBee Wireless Board was also attached, and seems to work pretty well. However, I’ve disconnected the power for now, since it was drawing too much current. I’ve since, built another 5volt power supply for it, and will work on another in the next few days for other boards.  It now contains, some extra protection, and a heatsink, and seems to work pretty good so far. See the pic…

Power board

Power board

I’m still trying to get the odometry working properly, but it should be too bad…too much a perfectionist I suppose…It has a few quirks to it, so it’s justified right now…

I’ve also added a small canopy to Max, as shown in the pictures below. This is the top of a garbage bin, and the small piece of the rim is removed. This allows the canopy to sit more or less, flush with the chassis base (Lexan). The bin will be cut down to form the lower part of the torso of Max’s body. I plan to build an upper portion where a shoulder, arms, etc. would be, but for now, lots of work on the lower torso. Once I have the LTorso cut down, I’ll add the treaded rods, and it’ll be the frame to add the internal structure…like a skeleton.

Max with the electronic guts showing

Max with the electronic guts showing

Max with the Canopy and Lower Torso.

Max with the Canopy and Lower Torso.

Max with Torso (needs to be cut down)

Max with Torso (needs to be cut down)

I will be adding some sensors to this LTorso project, such as ULTRAsonic, and IR sensors, a “off-cliff” detector, and also a bump skirt, which protects and the chassis and objects in the room from damage.

Currently Mega and Max have demo code, for doing some motion control tests, open loop. But will be working adding better code.  Mega has sensors, and I’m working on getting one of them working better…stupid wiring issue.

I will add these and other pics to the gallery. I will update again soon.