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[DPRG] RE: How much do our choices effect our results?

Subject: [DPRG] RE: How much do our choices effect our results?
From: Randy M. Dumse rmd at newmicros.com
Date: Sun Aug 19 20:06:02 CDT 2007

> Jeff Koenig opined: Sunday, August 12, 2007 4:33 PM Agreed! It

> saddens me to look through 20 year old issues of "Robotics
Age" 
> magazine and wonder if there's really been 20 years of
progress 
> since then.

Well, I've been hard on the SRF04, but perhaps I should give
Devantech more credit. They have added more sensors to the
robotics groups than anyone else, I'd say. Maybe Sharp with
their IR rangers comes close.

But I hear your comment about 20 years. There were the polaroid
sonars 20 years ago. There were a few fluxgate compasses. There
were microcontrollers (I know I was making them back then.)
There were cameras and frame grabbers too. There were encoders
and quadrature decoder chips. There were motors and H-bridges.
There were current sensors. There were photocells, and not very
bright, but there were LED's. There were infrared sources and
detectors. There were even radio modems.

There's lots of things I could list in the way of advances in
computers, but I'm not sure any of them would be considered that
important to robotics. For instance CD's were just coming
available then. Now we have DVDs. But of what use is watching a
movie to a robot?

We have MP3 players now. But what use is listening to music to a
robot. Digital ears? That would be an advancement. But MP3
Players, so what.

We've got great Wifi connections. But what does a autonomous
system need with a computer 30 feet away. (I won't suggest
Bluetooth or ZigBee couldn't be useful as wire replacements
within the robot however.) Yes, Wifi might get video off the
robot, to the "operator" but it if has an operator, it isn't
autonomous in the sense we're looking for.

And we've got all those nifty USB peripherals. But this poses
two problems. We're tied to a PC or Linux machine for our brain,
just to access something USB based. And even if that weren't a
problem for most of us, we don't have any robotics USB
peripherals. About the only worthwhile advance a USB connection
gets us are Web Cams.

Maybe we should turn this thread into a brainstorming discussion
of what sensors we'd like.

Randy
www.newmicros,com
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