Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Voice Commands and Flashing Lights

So the LEDs and speaker have been added to the system.  BitVoicer has been implemented into Butler.  The voice commands are working great.  Unfortunately, the microphone on this laptop isn't doing it justice.  I'm now working on implementing a microphone into Butler for better voice control from a further distance.

The LEDs are connected to digital pins through a 1000k ohm resistor.  The speaker is connected to a digital pin through a 100 ohm resistor.  The coding has been written and split up through different tabs for better reading of the code and easier to change if needed.

I have found ways to implement different tones to different commands given.  Butler can even play familiar tunes, whistle, and sing.  Butler will certainly have all types of different abilities that will stand above the rest.

Enjoy a few of the videos that we've taken through the progress:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Some Random Notes for Today

I have already started planning out the body of the robot.  I was going to start my DJ business again so a few months ago I started to purchase equipment for it.  I didn't get far so I only have a rack case and a power strip which luckily I'm going to be able to reuse in different manners.

For the body, I'm using this rack case that I am going to reinforce inside to be real sturdy and then attach the extremities to this case.  After they are attached, I'll start installing the sensors and work on a head piece.  Since the cavity of the box is 16" deep, I'll install a board to separate the internal wiring and boards from the storage the robot will use.   I plan on using either a door that he'll open on his own or a roll up that he can store inside.  This part will be interesting to program so that he remembers what he put inside himself.

The base stands 21.5" tall and 15 1/4" wide.  Adding the head piece and bottom base will add to the height.  The arms also will add to the width.  I'm waiting to finish the head piece and arms first so I can know the total weight of the upper body so I know what type of axle and motor setup I'll need for the bottom.  The handles and strap that went around the box will be removed.

At first, I did not know where to begin with the base and then while I was at work brainstorming, it hit me about the rack case.  I shaved off about a week of time constructing this guy just by having this case!  Can't wait till this guy starts really piecing together.

Here's the casing I'll be using as the main body

My brain hurts, So much research!

Some new notes to add to the journal.  I found a previous Wall-E robot prototype tutorial.  I plan on using a few parts and techniques it has listed.  I will refer back to this in the future.

BitVoicer will be used for our voice recognition.  I purchased the license for $4.95 today which I was quite pleased with the price for such an advance type of software for robotics.  I've been messing with it to learn the functionality and will be using THIS to practice using BitVoicer.

I'm going to make a quick run to RadioShack to get some resistors, LEDs, and an 8ohm speaker to start working on outputting tones for different commands.  I want to make Butler different from other "typical" robots.  I'm thinking more like R2D2 responses to commands.  I believe I can express feelings with the movements, sounds he makes, and lighting.

The light sensors seem like they will work for their purpose.  I will need probably four different light sensors throughout the body due to a very limited angle of only 5 degrees of detecting the light source.  When the sensor was directed straight into a light source, it worked great.  More study will go into this.

The sonar sensor works.  I did notice that it will error out when there was a sudden change.  Going to research into this further to see if it's the coding or the sensor itself.

Here's a few pictures to entertain you on what's been done so far:
My Toolbox
Light Sensor
HC-SR04 Sonar Sensor
My Setup

Breadboard / Arduino Mega Setup

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Here's to a new beginning!

Well here we go!  I'm really doing it this time.  Nothing is holding me back.  My goal with this robot is to have him be able to answer any question you may have and think on his own.  I want him to move on his own, think on his own, and understand what you tell him.  Here's to the next age of robots!  His name will be Butler, a completely autonomous AI robot.

I have a really good laptop, a toolbox for all the stuff I'll be getting over time, and the starting setup to begin.  Below is what I got in this past week:

- Asus Ultrabook Aluminum Intel Core i3 1.8GHz, 4GB DDR3 Memory, Windows 8
- Arduino Mega 2560 Microcontroller
- HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Distance Sensor
- Light Brightness Sensors
- 400 point breadboard
- 12V AA battery holder
- 2.1mm DC pigtail power plug

I have downloaded Arduino from and have it installed already on the new laptop.  I plan to just test out the sensors are start working with the programming.  I'll post my findings tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

- DM