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[DPRG] Cool robot

Subject: [DPRG] Cool robot
From: Sluggy slugmusk at linuxlegend.com
Date: Tue Aug 22 13:30:36 CDT 2000

"Robert L. Jordan" wrote:
> Because you loose points for touching the walls, I wonder if touching
> the walls with the coiled AC power cord will reduce your score. This
> is a great way to reduce weight, no batteries. I wonder if you had an
> electrical fire in a real house, what good the robot would be - 
> perhaps no AC? Is that figured into the contest point system?

The tether is not subject to the wall penalties, partly because the
tether cabling is handled by the impartial contest officials and partly
because of the philosophy behind the contest rules. 


The point system is based primarily on fulfilling the contest goals in a
proportionally miniaturized setting, thus the 12" cube robot size
limitation. In a production system inspired by the succesful
contestants, the size limitation would be more in line with real world
dimensions and self contained robots with onboard power and computing
systems would be more practical.

It is especially helpful for such small robots to not have to carry
their power with them. Also, the tether is usable for data, so you could
actually have a platform that is nothing but I/O with master control
being connected by the tether. In fact, when the 1998 IEEE conference
was in Fort Worth and they had a regional firefighting contest, at least
one robot did exactly that. The operators had a bot that was essentially
a smart peripheral that communicated with a tethered laptop that made
all the decisions. Also on the tether was a big honkin' power cable,
much bigger than I would think was needed, connected to an equally
oversized lab-grade power supply.

In the extreme case, I could envision a robot the size of a mouse with a
PIC controlling nothing but two motors to drive it, something to
extinquish the fire and a camera connected by a power/data/video tether
to any powerful computer providing real time video analysis, navigation
and motion control. Of course, a really powerful computer or array of
networked computers could operate a fleet of mice.




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