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CHAPTER 7 MINE SWEEPER
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After initialization, the program flow comes back to the main task, where a perpetual loop begins: here inside the mine, searching, centering, and collecting procedures are called, one after another. You may begin to compare these parts of the code with the corresponding abstract blocks of the flow chart in Figure 7-6. Let s dive into the detailed description of these three procedures, proceeding in order. The SearchMine() subroutine contains a loop that sequentially activates phases 1, 2, and 3 of the search, calling the SearchPhase(byte phase) function, passing the phase number as an argument. The program flow breaks out the SearchMine() loop only if a mine is found during one of those phases. Also, notice that the SearchPhase function calls after the first are performed only if the mine has not already been found (and the found variable is false). In fact, when the mine is right under the sensor, the robot must not continue with the successive scanning phases: the SearchMine() subroutine returns, and the main task can call the other subroutines. The SearchPhase function implements the subloops shown in gray in Figure 7-6, returning a Boolean value that is true if a mine has been detected during the scan, false otherwise. Inside this function, the ravine avoidance maneuver can be eventually triggered. According to the phase argument passed to this function, the robot spins clockwise or counterclockwise, and the span covered is determined by the value of the span variable. Every time that the motors are started, their Tacho Count register is reset. So, the condition abs(MotorTachoCount(LEFT_ WHEEL))>span allows you to check if the left wheel has turned by the number of degrees specified by the span variable.
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Caution The motors Tacho Count registers are always reset by the standard functions such as OnFwd,
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OnRev, Off, and other functions, unless you use their counterparts with the Ex postfix, as OnFwdRegEx, OnFwdSyncEx, OffEx, and so on. Among the arguments accepted by these extended functions, you can
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specify which motor-related registers you want to reset, or none of them. For details about all the motors control registers, consult the NXC Programming Guide.
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The Spin(short dir) subroutine simply runs the motors in opposite directions, calling the OnFwdReg NXC function. Using this function, the NXT firmware turns the motors on and regulates their speed precisely. Once a mine is found, the program flow goes back to main task. Here, the CenterMine() and CollectMine() subroutines are called sequentially. The CenterMine() subroutine attempts to find the mine s center of mass, measuring the mine s length. The program is left open to the development of a more refined centering procedure; for example, also measuring the mine s width. However, given that the size of the collectable objects is almost known, the grabber rarely fails in collecting them, even if they are not precisely aligned with respect to the robot s direction. You measure the mine length by calling the FindMineLength(short edge) function, passing as an argument the edge constant values TOP and BOTTOM. This function returns the left wheel s motor rotation count at the moment of the edge detection. The information about the other wheel angle is not important, because the motors are running synchronized. You can determine the center of the mine by subtracting the value returned by the second call from the wheel angle that s returned by the first FindMineLength call, and dividing the result by 2. The CenterMine subroutine calculates and uses this value to move the robot forward. Use Figure 7-7 as a reference.
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CHAPTER 7 MINE SWEEPER
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Figure 7-7. This scheme shows the phases to align the mine before collecting it. Once the mine is detected (a), its precise position under the sensor is unknown; the only known thing is that the Light Sensor is reading a value well below the threshold value. The function FindMineLength saves the actual left wheel rotation count and, receiving the constant TOP as an argument, moves the robot forward until a transition from black to white occurs (b: top edge). This waiting is done by calling the WaitEdge(byte mode) function: the argument mode allows the caller to specify WaitEdge to wait for a black-to-white transition, or for a white-to-black transition, implemented by the two macros MINE_LOST and MINE_DETECTED, respectively. The first waiting mode is associated with the constant DISMISSING, meaning that you want to wait for the mine to go away from the sensor halo; the second mode is given the name APPROACHING, meaning that you want to wait for the mine to approach, until it comes under the sensor halo. To avoid unpredictable color measurement problems making this waiting become infinite, you can use a timeout mechanism. The timeout is detected using the same technique you have encountered in 6. The constants and macros the WaitEdge function uses are summarized in Table 7-1. Table 7-1. Constants Used in the Edge Detection Functions
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