It's been a while since I've started my first experiments in Robotics. I needed a lot of time to build a usable platform, see the latest Ara platform.
The plan was to use a small mobile processing unit as the robot's brain, and finally I put everything together: the robot platform modified to 4x4 geared motor propulsion (very strong), the sensor unit, the bluetooth remote and motor controller board (all on a neat ATMega8 board that I've developed) and finally the brain, a low-power Smartphone i-mate SP5 with Camera (for artificial vision), microphone (for voice command), WLAN, bluetooth running Windows Mobile 6.
The workflow is as follows:
1) the Atmega8 board controls the motors (via a 10A H-Bridge), gathers data from sensors and interfaces a serial bluetooth module:
2) The smartphone is the robot's brain. It interfaces the Atmega8 via bluetooth, and based on camera input, and remote sensors decides the motor control. Alternatively voice commands can be used for various purposes.
Since the brain software is not ready I've connected everything together for a few tests.
I've linked my PC to the Atmega8 board via bluetooth, and I've connected the Smartphone via WLAN to my computer's network, so I could receive images from the camera. So from my computer I could move the robot around and see the Camera images.
Here's a snapshot with the Hyperterminal for robot control (keys: awsd) and the camera content:
From this point the hardware is almost done. The robot including the smartphone and the batteries weights ~3kg. For the software it will be a long journey but eventually the intermediate results will be posted here. Windows Mobile is quite an Advanced OS offering powerful tools for developers.