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Following a Predefined Path: Line Tracing
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Perhaps the simplest navigation system for mobile robots involves following some predefined path that s marked on the ground. The path can be a black or white line painted on a hard-surfaced floor, a wire buried beneath a carpet, a physical track, or any of several other methods. This type of robot navigation is used in some factories. The reflective tape method is preferred because the track can easily be changed without ripping up the floor. You can readily incorporate a tape-track navigation system in your robot. The line-tracing feature can be the robot s only means of semi-intelligent action, or it can be just one part of a more sophisticated machine. You could, for example, use the tape to help guide a robot back to its battery charger nest. With a line-tracing robot, you place a piece of white or reflective tape on the floor. For the best results, the floor should be hard, like wood, concrete, or linoleum, and not carpeted. One or more optical sensors are placed on the robot. These sensors incorporate an infrared LED and an infrared phototransistor. When the transistor turns on it sees the light from the LED reflected off the tape. Obviously, the darker the floor the better because the tape shows up against the background. In a working robot, mount the LED and phototransistors in a suitable enclosure, as described more fully in 36, Collision Avoidance and Detection. Or, use a
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commercially available LED-phototransistor pair (again, see 36). Mount the detectors on the bottom of the robot, as shown in Fig. 38.2, in which two detectors have been placed a little farther apart than the width of the tape. I used 1/4-inch art tape in the prototype for this book and placed the sensors 1/2 inch from one another. Fig. 38.3 shows the basic sensor circuit and how the LED and phototransistor are wired. Feel free to experiment with the value of R2; it determines the sensitivity of the phototransistor. Fig. 38.4 shows the sensor and comparator circuit that forms the basis of the line-tracing system. Refer to this figure often because this circuit is used in many other applications. You can use the schematics in Fig. 38.5 and Fig. 38.6 to build a complete line-tracing system (refer to the parts lists in Tables 38.1 and 38.2). You can build the circuit using just three IC packages: an LM339 quad comparator, a 7486 quad Exclusive OR gate, and a 7400 quad NAND gate. Before using the robot, block the phototransistors so they don t receive any light. Rotate the shaft of the set-point pots until the relays kick in, then back
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Left LED-Phototransistor
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Right LED-Phototransistor White or reflective strip on ground
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FIGURE 38.2 Placement of the left and right phototransistor-LED pair for the line-tracing robot.
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R2 10K R1 270 Output
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FIGURE 38.3 The basic LED-phototransistor wiring diagram.
FOLLOWING A PREDEFINED PATH: LINE TRACING
R2 10K R1 270 4 IC1 339 (1/4) LED1 Q1 R3 10K 5+ 2
R4 10K Output
FIGURE 38.4 Connecting the LED and phototransistor to an LM339 quad comparator IC. The output of the comparator switches between HIGH and LOW depends on the amount of light falling on the phototransistor. Note the addition of the 10K pullup resistor on the output of the comparator. This is needed to assure proper HIGH/LOW action.
+5V +5V
R1 270
R2 10K 4 3 IC1 339 (1/4) 2
R8 10K
IC3 7400 (1/4)
14 3 To Relay #1
LED1
R3 10K
14 IC2 7486 (1/4) +5V +5V 1 2 7 3
R4 270
R5 10K 6 -
3 IC1 339 (1/4)
R7 10K 1
IC3 7400 (1/4) 4 5
6 To Relay #2
LED2
R6 10K
FIGURE 38.5 Wiring diagram for the line-tracing robot. The outputs of the 7400 are routed to the relays in Figure 38.6.
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TABLE 38.1
PARTS LIST FOR LINE TRACER.
IC1 IC2 IC3 Q1,Q2 R1,R4 R2,R5, R7,R8 R3,R6 LED1,2 Misc.
LM339 Quad Comparator IC 7486 Quad Exclusive OR Gate IC 7400 Quad NAND Gate IC Infrared-sensitive phototransistors 270-ohm resistor 10K resistor 10K potentiometer Infrared light-emitting diode Infrared filter for phototransistor (if needed)
All resistors are 5 10% tolerance.
Ground
Ground
+5V D1 1N4003
+5V D2 1N4003
From Detector # 1
From Detector# 2
FIGURE 38.6 Motor direction and control relays for the line-tracing robot. You can substitute the relays for purely electronic control; refer to Chap. 18.
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