Tactile Design Robot

Updated 4/17/16


 A brand new robot, designed to test out the concepts of using insect like antennas and small mammal whiskers to assist in internal home navigation. Only six inches in diameter, it is the perfect size for our robot arena test area and will be right for upstairs testing in the home environment. All programming is done using CCS-C.
Current Progress:
The TDR robot with frontal whisker sensor plate installed. Room for three sets of whiskers are provided, with two sets installed here. The robot can now navigate the arena by "feel" and using the whiskers as touch sensors, take evasive action. This is one small step toward increasingly sophisticated behavior that is planned.
Front view showing layout of the two sets of installed whiskers. The top set has not been put in yet, and will be the longest ones.

Schematic 1
 Schematic diagram for whisker plate
Sensor plate diagram. When the wires touch either the brass plates on the ends or the buss bar loops under the frontal wires, the whisker is grounded. This sends a high to low signal to the main processor. Red LEDs indicate an impact as well.
Finite State Diagram of initial TDR
Movie 1
Here are three You Tube movie clips of the robot in action in the arena. This first one is the robot bouncing around inside the 2 x 4 foot test arena using its whiskers for navigation. The robot turns more when the frontal whiskers are touched than when the side whiskers are activated.
Movie 2
Direct frontal impact here, shows the response of a face on hit with the wall. To detect this, we first stop the robot when either right frontal or left frontal whisker is touched. then wait about 1/10 of a second. Then look at the OTHER whisker to see if its also touched. this way a frontal hit with both can be detected. You have to wait and look because the processor is so fast that it will start reacting to one side micro seconds later, and ignore the second impact on the front which may occur milliseconds later.
Movie 3
A typical problem with simplistic programing like this is what is infamously known as "corner entrapment". This is where the robot gets stuck (forever) in a corner because it rocks back and forth on its whiskers to try to escape the two walls. There are many simple fixes for this, but until I put them in, I wanted you to see what it looks like.
Previous Uploads on this robot:

Intro page 1