The infamous first post

… The module was entering the last phase of the landing. The speed was reduced enough by the reverse thrusters and now it was only meters from the surface. The board computer changed it’s mode and start calculating and careful corrections in the last steps.

A few seconds later, the module was sitting proud on the surface. The mission control computer, activated self diagnostic sequence for the module and the precious cargo. The diagnostic software took about a year to be developed but was active for only 7 seconds and resulted in 14 green lights. The importance of those green lights was great. They were the thing that indicated that the next stage of the plan can commence.
The signal reached the module, as well as the other hundreds of modules scattered on the foreign surface. The door of every module opened and the machines until now transported only as cargo, awakened to life. They disembarked out of their transports and looked at the lifeless wasteland with their cold robotic eyes.

Even thought they shared their mind, each of them had a specialized construction, sensors and tools to help them achieve their combined purpose. In less than 2 years, in place of this barren terrain, there will be a completely habitable small city that will accept the first colonists …

Back to reality …

I have always been fascinated with these sci-fi visions of the future. In particular  the artificial intelligence and robotics. There are a lot of things i want to try in these fields, so i started with building my own robots (or at least attempt to do so).

It started as one robot that have a Raspberry Pi as its main computer and Arduino Uno board for control of the low-level electronics, sensors and motors. Soon after, i used some spare parts and build a second one. Since i am a software guy (really suck at electronics), i started with the software. It is almost identical for both machines with the major difference in the chassis drivers:

  • Low level drivers for sensors and motors control.
  • Installed OpenCv to handle all image processing tasks.
  • Embedded web server that allows to control the robots directly in the browser.

As i mentioned previously i am not a hardware guy, so the hardware is built by using ready-made components and kits. The machines have different chassis and components, however both of them have the same functionality in common:

  • Raspberry pi 2/3 – This is the main brain of the robot. The raspberry have enough processing power for fairly complex tasks such as image processing and neural networks.
  • Arduino Uno – I am using Arduino to control the low level electronics, sensors and motors.
  • Pi camera – Both of the machines have pan/tilt turret and a Pi camera attached to it.
  • Wi-Fi – Not much to be said here. We want to control the robots remotely.
    Whats next?

    Make this pile of components actually work together. Right now all of the components are working and can be controlled separately. However there are still some issues with them working together, and the next step is to tune the software and hardware for both machines (hopefully without blowing anything up).

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