Ratchets Headlight Prefab

In this post I will introduce some code developed for controlling Ratchets Headlights. The presented script extends the growing C# Mono Ratchet library of scripts for Unity3D and formulates the basis for yet another Unity3D prefab. As with the other scripts that I have featured as of late, the script utilizes both my Simple Serial String Parsing Code and my UnitySerialPort Script to provide serial communication capability between a Unity3D application and Ratchet the robot. ...more

Basic Differential aka Tank Drive

With the Ratchet hardware build now complete, my developmental focus has turned to the software needed to run him. First up of course has to be getting him to move. The following post introduces a couple of basic scripts, one in C# (for the desktop) and the other in C (for Ratchet himself). The scripts have been developed to provide Ratchet with capability to calculate the speed and direction values needed for differential drive movement, both on and off the robot. ...more

Unity3D Serialport Script

This post presents a script and or prefab developed to allow drag and drop capability for serial communication within the Unity3D game development ecosystem. This in turn allows for the use of  custom gaming controllers and hardware developed on platforms such as Arduino and Netduino within Unity applications. The script is included at the end of the post and is also available for download. As always it is fully commented so that you can hopefully easily work out what is going on with the code. Events Update 06.03.2014 Please note that his script has been updated to both include event triggers and the removal of the threaded  update loop. For more information please see the post: Adding Events to the Serialport Script. ...more

ServoBot LED Headlight & Sharp IR Bumper

In this post I will demonstrate the assembly of the bumper for my current robot build Ratchet. The bumper contains both a Sharp IR distance sensor (for obstacle avoidance) and a pair of LED's for headlights. One of the key features that I liked about my last robot build Sheldon was the use of flashing combinations of the headlights to indicate information such as current mode etc. I found it so useful that I decided to duplicate this functionality for Ratchet too. ...more

Arduino and the Sharp IR Proximity Sensor

In my last post I demonstrated how I modified a couple of Sharp IR sensors for use with my ServoBot Shield. It recently dawned on me however, that some of you might not know what these sensors are for, and how they are used. With that in mind I decided to put together this quick post as a bit of an introduction etc. Introducing the Sharp IR Sensor The Sharp IR family of proximity sensors are probably the most commonly used sensors by robot hobbyists. This is because they are inexpensive and are ideally suited to small robots. ...more

The ServoBot Shield

Last month I published a post detailing the construction of a power harness for my servo based robots Ratchet and Clank. The harness is used to connect one of two battery sources to either an Arduino or a simple power distribution board (PDB). The PDB, much like its qauadcopter equivalent, is a simple board that is used to distribute power across each attached servo, whilst also breaking out each their signal lines so that they can easily be connected to the Arduino. During the publication of that post I began thinking; why have a separate board with all those wires? Why-not just put together a simple shield that does the same thing in a more compact manner? After toying around for a while with the idea I came up the design for my very first ever shield, The ServoBot Shield. ...more

Building a Calibrated Tilt Compensated Compass with the LSM303

The LSM303 Breakout is a nice little compass module that consists of a triple axis accelerometer and a triple axis magnetometer. When used together this combination of sensors allows the LSM303 to perform 6D orientation detection and provide all the data needed to calculate a tilt-compensated heading. This post introduces an Arduino sketch that allows both calibration of the LSM303 and the saving of calibration data to the arduino's EEPROM. This data can then be recalled to configure the LSM303 for use at a later date. ...more

Simple Serial String Parsing

One of the initial requirements I came across whilst developing with the Arduino platform, as with the Netduino platform, was the need for effective 2 way serial communication between both the Arduino(s) and my desktop. Luckily, the Arduino software provides several examples that can get you up and running with serial communication in no time. ...more

Xbee Explorer Regulated – Netduino

A very quick example demonstrating the use of the Xbee Explorer Regulated Board as an alternative to the Arduino Xbee Shield for serial communication. ...more