Burn. Burn. Burn.

Do you know that the red wire from a battery corresponds to Vcc and the black wire to ground? I guess you do. I did. Turns out the guys who created my lead-acid battery didn’t.

I was working on a H-bridge and suddenly it got fried. I checked out the wiring and since everything was color perfect, I attached another H-bridge. And then the second one got fried. After much cursing, I finally debugged the error with a multimeter. To cut a long story short, I have two less H-bridges this morning than what I had last night.

Note to Self – Always check with a multimeter. Thank Thor for not screwing with my development board.

From AndRo.bot To Pronghorn – The Mistakes, The Lessons and The Draft

Somewhere in another post in this blog I mentioned that I was planning to upgrade the AndRo.bot rover that I was  working on. This decision was made long before AndRo was even complete. AndRo was jinxed from the onset.  The initial plan to route all user communications through the cloud proved disastrous. The latency and redundancy introduced by the cloud was so costly for the real-time data communication, that I ended up using an embedded HTTP server instead. But then new problems started showing up. This was mainly due to me using Android. Not only was Java crappy, but even the phone’s myriad background services and puny processing power were taking its tolls. Even the hardware was pretty much basic (software was the priority). But people were impressed. And it was appreciated. Continue reading

So what is this Arduino?

Arduino is a single-board microcontroller to make using electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible. The hardware consists of a simple open source hardware board designed around an 8-bit Atmel AVR microcontroller, or a 32-bit Atmel ARM. The software consists of a standard programming language compiler and a boot loader that executes on the microcontroller. Continue reading

Meet AndRo.bot – my pet, hobbyist robot

This post is formatted more like a scientific paper, and less like a blog. This is because I initially wrote this as a draft for a paper I was intending to publish. The version I ended up publishing turned out to be much more detailed and technical.

Abstract : This project uses Android, along with cloud based APIs and the 80c51 microcontroller, to create a software-hardware system that attempts to address several current problems in robotics, including, among other things, line-following, obstacle-avoidance, voice control, voice synthesis, remote surveillance, motion & obstacle detection, face detection and remote live image streaming. The rover, built upon a portable five-layered architecture, will use several mature and a few experimental algorithms in Web and Mobile Development, Computer Vision and Robotics behind-the-scene to provide its prospective user in defense, entertainment or industrial sector a positive user experience. A minimal amount of security is achieved using MD5, SHA1 and AES. Continue reading