My Follow Me HexCrawler - A Heat Seeking Robot

norris56norris56 Posts: 69
edited March 2010 in Robotics Vote Up0Vote Down
I’ve seen a lot of discussion around building robots that can follow a person. I decided to take up the challenge and built what I call a "Follow Me" HexCrawler. Based on the CrustCrawler HexCrawler it's able to follow me around the house while avoiding common objects like walls and chairs. I can lead it from about 2 feet out to 10 feet. When it gets to close it will stop and backup. If it loses me it will simply stop. Occasionally it even locks onto the cat although the cat is able to out run the HexCrawler.

The “Follow Me” HexCrawler is constructed from 3 major components. At the front is the Robot Sensor Array (RSA). It has 2 PIC microcontrollers. One processes the left/right IR proximity sensors while the other handles the Ping and the Thermal Array Sensor from Devantech. This array has 8 thermal sensors configured in a single row with an addition sensor for ambient temperature. The PIC reads these temperature values and performs the necessary signal processing. It can easily detect a person’s body heat. Its field of view is about 45 degrees. Also mounted on the RSA are 8 LEDs that indicate where the thermal sensor is registering heat. By using these two PICSs I’m able to offload all the sensor processing and provide a simple 4 wire interface to the Basic Stamp.

The second component is what I call a “GaitPIC”. It's another PIC microcontroller that performs all the servo sequencing for the 6 legs (12 servos) on the HexCrawler. It interfaces to the Parallax Servo Controller. The Basic Stamp talks to the GaitPIC with a simple serial protocol issuing commands like “Walk Forward” or “Turn Right”. Again this offloads all complex walking sequences from the Stamp.

The last component is the Basic Stamp and the BOE. The Stamp coordinates the sensor information and GaitPIC and basically controls the “mission” of this robot. In this case it’s to follow a person until its batteries are dead. The Stamp code is pretty simple and easy to modify and change the mission. An example of another mission might be to avoid people instead of following them. I know I have had this mission on occasion myself.

I’ve posted an action packed video (a 30 Meg QuickTime) on the CrustCrawler site. You can get to it from the following link.

share.crustcrawler.com/NorrisLabs/FollowMeHexCrawler/FollowMe.htm

Below are some pictures of my “Follow Me” HexCrawler.
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Comments

  • 15 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 13,778
    edited October 2006 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Norris,

    ·· This is worthy of the Completed Projects Forum.· If you would like it moved there, let me know.· Very nice!

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    Chris Savage
    Parallax Tech Support
    Chris Savage
    Engineering Tech, Parallax Inc.
    (916) 624-8333 x3005
    Website / Twitter / Google+
  • Paul BakerPaul Baker Posts: 6,351
    edited October 2006 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Excellent Norris, very nicely done. I bet it was a blast to build and get working.

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    [url=mailto:pbaker@parallax.com]Paul Baker[/url]
    Propeller Applications Engineer

    Parallax, Inc.
  • norris56norris56 Posts: 69
    edited October 2006 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Thanks Chris and Paul!

    If you think this topic would be more appropriate in the Completed Projects Forum please move it. Since it was about robotics I posted it here.

    Thanks,
    Steve Norris
  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 13,778
    edited October 2006 Vote Up0Vote Down
    This thread is being moved from the Robotics Forum to the Completed Projects Forum.

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    Chris Savage
    Parallax Tech Support
    Chris Savage
    Engineering Tech, Parallax Inc.
    (916) 624-8333 x3005
    Website / Twitter / Google+
  • Tommy BotTommy Bot Posts: 60
    edited October 2006 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I have been curious about the Hex Crawler. I've seen a few videos, your's and the ones on the Crustcrawler site.
    Is that as fast as is it can walk? I assumed (wrong I guess) that with todays high speed servos it could walk abit faster.

    Your Bot is awsome by the way, props for the hard work.

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    (Frequently heard from other's)

    Tommy, I know it wasn't designed to·x, but can you make it·do x·anyway?

    ·
  • norris56norris56 Posts: 69
    edited October 2006 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Yes, that's about the speed it walks at. You could always increase the ramp up time or switch to digital servos to make it go faster. You also have to consider how big a load you want the crawler to carry and the torque ratings of the servos. I have my Nomad walking faster but its has digital servos for the vertical lift joints.

    Steve Norris
  • logan996logan996 Posts: 281
    edited March 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    where did you get the heat sensor?

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    "When the government is afraid of the people there is liberty, when the people are afraid of the government, there is tryanny"

    · Thomas Jefferson
    ·
  • bill190bill190 Posts: 768
    edited March 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    My dog would love that!

    Is this the heat sensor?

    http://www.acroname.com/robotics/parts/R255-TPA81.html
  • Rob7Rob7 Posts: 275
    edited March 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Great job Norris,

    Wire wrap, I love to see that Old School skills combined with high tech. is not lost.

    Robbie
  • P!-RoP!-Ro Posts: 1,190
    edited March 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Reminds me of a robot I got to see recently called Bheka. Very nice, I vote you place a paintball turrent on it now.

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    PG
  • legoman132legoman132 Posts: 87
    edited March 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Excellent! I wish my TPA81 worked.
  • mikedivmikediv Posts: 825
    edited March 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Awesome robot,, But I found the code thank you very much ,, but how can anyone else build this without schematics? I would love to try and build something like this.
  • sstone86sstone86 Posts: 17
    edited March 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Thank you! Thank you! I have been trying to build a similar robot with PING sensors to track but that did not work out so well. I wanted to use a thermal sensor but was unsure of its complexity. Now I know its way easier than I thought and your source code will help me greatly. yeah.gif
  • Tom CTom C Posts: 461
    edited March 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hi all,

    The Rover version of Steve's Crawler can be found here: http://www.norrislabs.com/Projects/FollowMeRov/index.html

    I built a modified version of Steve's Rover in that I created a BS2p program that performed the same function as the PIC processor that Steve used in his project.

    Regards,
    TCIII

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    If you are going to send·a Robot·to save the world, you·better make sure it likes it the way it is!
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