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Unread 08-22-2005, 08:38 AM
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Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...1&page=4&pp=15

This is a continuation of the "Let's Have Linux Robots" thread, which I thought would now appeal to the Programming folks a lot more.

After some summer hacking fun, I got a set of proof-of-concept scripts together. From the release notes:

Quote:
1. IFI code that sends 2 joysticks, encoder readouts (with support for non-quadrature encoders), and accepts 4 PWMs
2. Hacked-together Python scripts that sport various nifty features:
* A record & playback solution: We've recorded 30-second tetra manipulating routines that played back flawlessly. The system uses millisecond-accurate timestamps to synchronize in case of lost packets during recording.
* A simple PID demo to be used with non-quadrature encoders or hall-effects: This needs tweaking to your robot. We will be writing up tweaking documentation for you to play with soon.

Note that this code is for proof of concept purposes: they're hack jobs to prove that the DFCP is technically feasible and a valuable addition to the robot! The ultimate goal is the OrionPluginInterface?, a TCP/IP-based, fully modular and layered protocol. This will allow you the ultimate in flexibility and compatibility, and even some cool possibilities while you're not competing (i.e. using a WiFi? enabled coprocessor and programming it remotely from the driver's station)
If you're interested in trying it (requires a Linux laptop), see http://adambots.gotdns.com/cgi-bin/v...rceCoProcessor for an overview, and http://adambots.gotdns.com/cgi-bin/v...onPreviewNotes for getting started directions.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 08:46 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Wow. Many have thought about this, you actually did it. Awesome!
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Unread 08-22-2005, 09:51 AM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

I actually blogged about this some time ago. I'm glad to see someone's tried it!
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Unread 08-22-2005, 10:07 AM
Ryan M. Ryan M. is offline
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Well... now I just have to get a USB/serial convertor which actually works...

Nice work. I will try this out as soon as I can get my hands on an old robot.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 10:14 AM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Looks impressive. I'll be very interested to see how updated versions pan out.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 10:31 AM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astronouth7303
I actually blogged about this some time ago. I'm glad to see someone's tried it!
Regarding power, we've successfully powered our embedded chip of choice (Gumstix + CF + Serial) with a 12V-5V DC regulator, which should be allowed in the rules (harmless, 500mA max) as custom electronics. Worse comes to worse, we'll use the 5V from a few digital IO pins, lol.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 11:35 AM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Hmm... If you install Apache and use some CGI, you could make the robot controllable through a web based interface. Although, Java would probably get you better real-time performance.

Props on the project though.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 01:18 PM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Quote:
Originally Posted by sciguy125
Hmm... If you install Apache and use some CGI, you could make the robot controllable through a web based interface. Although, Java would probably get you better real-time performance.

Props on the project though.
I think mod_perl would get you the max performance, since it caches and precompiles. Python with psyco would get you interesting performance too.

And since the final solution (http://ubuntubackports.org/adambots-...modular/README) will be TCP/IP based to begin with, you can use WiFi to control the robot remotely while developing your robot software... Imagine that, tweaking the robot without lugging it back within reach of the serial cable, pushing the annoying button that's next to the sharp pointy pins that I've stabbed myself with multiple times.....
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Unread 08-22-2005, 02:18 PM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

I like this but I'm wondering if it will be legal for the FIRST games. This is probably something that should go to FIRST's FAQ (I don't think they had this in mind when they wrote those rules!). I hope it is legal it would allow for some interesting robots! However I also feel this pang that makes me wonder if this gives an unfair advantage over teams unable to do this (assuming its legal :roll eyes: ). Our school has a JAVA class and if you can get the robot to function on JAVA our team will probably have 30-40 able programmers! (I'm serious!) Most programmers at our school don't do it in robotics because its not object oriented and were too lazy to do anything but java!
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Unread 08-22-2005, 03:34 PM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanicalbrain
I like this but I'm wondering if it will be legal for the FIRST games. This is probably something that should go to FIRST's FAQ (I don't think they had this in mind when they wrote those rules!). I hope it is legal it would allow for some interesting robots! However I also feel this pang that makes me wonder if this gives an unfair advantage over teams unable to do this (assuming its legal :roll eyes: ). Our school has a JAVA class and if you can get the robot to function on JAVA our team will probably have 30-40 able programmers! (I'm serious!) Most programmers at our school don't do it in robotics because its not object oriented and were too lazy to do anything but java!
I think as long as the co-processor is under $200 this is perfectly legal. By that logic you could also say that teams shouldn't build arms because it gives teams an unfair advantage over those who don't have the resources to build an arm. If you have the resources and time, it should be perfectly legal. A rule that would make that illegal would pretty much halt the innovative think tank that FIRST has become.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 03:39 PM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanicalbrain
I like this but I'm wondering if it will be legal for the FIRST games.
It only differs from the coprocessors that many teams have been using for years in that it is more powerful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanicalbrain
However I also feel this pang that makes me wonder if this gives an unfair advantage over teams unable to do this (assuming its legal :roll eyes: ).
So i suppose we should have a rule that allows inspectors to reject mechanisms because they are too sophisticated?
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Unread 08-22-2005, 04:21 PM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Ok thats like saying that we can use a more powerfull motor because its still a motor. Im just saying allot of teams won't be able to do something like this so you got to weigh how much of an advantage does it give over other teams. however Adam Richards said it best when he said "We don't know. The rules are still subject to change until January 7th, 2006. They might include a laptop with a linux kernel on it next year in the kit and say "Go Forth Students, and program us a LinuxBot!" (as said in IM)" Based on this years rules i think that the rules are pretty clear about just using the RC to control the bot. However by all means go forth and develope this technology im the last one to stand in the way of new advances! Just saying don't make a robot dependent on this and get to the competition just to find its not legal. Get it in writing!!! This is exactly the type of thing you want to check with FIRST on.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 04:43 PM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanicalbrain
Ok thats like saying that we can use a more powerfull motor because its still a motor. Im just saying allot of teams won't be able to do something like this so you got to weigh how much of an advantage does it give over other teams. however Adam Richards said it best when he said "We don't know. The rules are still subject to change until January 7th, 2006. They might include a laptop with a linux kernel on it next year in the kit and say "Go Forth Students, and program us a LinuxBot!" (as said in IM)" Based on this years rules i think that the rules are pretty clear about just using the RC to control the bot. However by all means go forth and develope this technology im the last one to stand in the way of new advances! Just saying don't make a robot dependent on this and get to the competition just to find its not legal. Get it in writing!!! This is exactly the type of thing you want to check with FIRST on.
I think a better analogy is that if there were a team out there that invented a better motor, they should be able to use it.

You are right, we definetly do need to wait until the new rules are out to be 100% sure.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 05:06 PM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Guys, we're (or at least Team 245) are not planning to leave anyone behind. The solution costs $200 max (more like mid-100's), and can be FREE if you have junk lying around.

I'm developing all of this Open source, focusing on community-contributed modules and code that anyone can use.

Other teams have used coprocessors before, so I see nothing different here. Analyzing the "Custom Electronics" rules one-by-one, we're in the clear as long as the coprocessor doesn't send out PWMs or communicate to someone in the stands with Wifi in the middle of a match
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Unread 08-22-2005, 05:11 PM
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Re: Linux-Powered Robots and Flexible Programming

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickertsen2
So i suppose we should have a rule that allows inspectors to reject mechanisms because they are too sophisticated?
LOL, in OCCRA (a local, mini-FIRST-like competition), we've had inspectors stop us from putting limit switches on our robot because it's too "dangerous" and carries "live voltage"


But as far as legality, I don't want this to be implemented as a "loophole", it'd be much better if we can get a group of supporters ( you guys with our programming team) to approach the FIRST folks and try to ensure that next year's rules won't deny innovation in FIRST programming.
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