WALL-E Weekly Log
We met with our TA Andrew and completed the project proposal! We figured out our original Bluetooth option wasn't great, so we are now looking at a Bluetooth shield instead. We also found out we would have to power our robot, so we included batteries in our budget.
We revised our first project proposal to have a direct application and objective. Instead of just roaming around avoiding obstacles listlessly, our project's goal is to create a robot that can lead a blind person while avoiding obstacles. Synchronizing a group of sensors to work together, creating code to lead a person and creating a helpful app to communicate to the follower are new updated challenges we will face. We updated our Gantt chart to reflect this and assigned tasks to each project member.
This week we further worked on the project page, fixing both budget and reference errors. We met with our TA and went over some of the code which used pulse width modulation to send different voltages to speed/stop the motors on the RC car. Further researched how to use the HRC sensors, import the library and methods to call the sensors in Arduino. Also studied on how to connect and use the Bluetooth shield which actually comes with a pre-built app already which could turn out to be a useful starting point for our own app.
Our parts came in! We only ordered one distance sensor though as we want to spend some more time researching I2C protocol given Humberto's advice. I2C appears to be the standard way of communicating between lots of devices, where our Arduino would be the master and all the sensors would act as slaves with unique serial addresses. The cons of I2C are the sensors are more expensive, I'm having a difficult time finding reasonably priced I2C sensors given the amount we need for our project. More research will have to go into this. Another option might be to add more physical connectors to the Arduino to work with the cheaper HRC sensors, but this means we lose out on all the benefits of I2C. I researched some information on the k-means clustering algorithm which we will be using to control the direction our robot should go. It appears as if we want to use the total distance we read from each sensor into a list of k vectors and divide these into S subdivisions to minimize the within-cluster sum of squares. Novi researched how the bluetooth would communicate with the app and also assembled the chasis and motors, however she noticed the top portion was broken a bit and used a hot glue gun to fix it. Finally, we attached our motor shield to our Arduino and ran some basic tests to get the motors to spin. We also created a simple code sketch to measure distances with our sensor. With both of these functions working, we created a final set of code to turn the robot left when it reaches a wall.
This week we reconsidered our objective and decided to change it to help blind people avoid running into obstacles. We also decided to use a speaker in the robot to alert people instead of using phone App. We listed all the detailed works we need to do including all possible methods and programs. Then we edited our Gantt Chart and redivided the individual's work. We also worked on the I2C which combine two Arduino together in order to get more space for our sensors. We also get the gyroscope from our TA and discussed about how to set sensors. We decided to 3D print two components for the front and back sensors. Then the sensors can set in a stable way. Started to write some of the motor functions for the car. Wrote the code to send integers over I2C as standard protocol is sending only one byte at a time(ints are two bytes). Finally, read some raw values from the MPU6050.
Midterms were this week so we were not able to get as much work done on the project. Daniel was able to attach a distance sensor to the slave Arduino and relay the information over I2C to the main master Arduino. Following the same protocol we should be able to attach the remaining sensors, manage the wires and have a clean set up with most of the hardware challenges completed. Novi created a 3D model for stabilizing sensors. And she also wrote the basic move forward, backward, turn left and turn right switch cases for motor. When we figure out how the data changes in those situations, the cases can be applied to our robot.
This week we print out our mount for the sensors with the help of TA. However, one part of the mount overlap the place of screws in our robot car. So we need to adjust our model a little bit and print another one. Daniel get the second sensor working. Right now the two sensors can collect data at the same time. Hopefully we are able to make all six sensors working next week and the begin to manage the data.