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30.2 NONCONTACT NEAR-OBJECT DETECTION
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30.2 Noncontact Near-Object Detection
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Avoiding a collision is better than detecting it after it has happened. Short of building some elaborate radar distance measurement system, the ways for providing proximity detection to avoid collisions fall into two categories: light and sound. The following sections will take a closer look at several light- and sound-based techniques.
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30.2.1 SIMPLE INFRARED LIGHT PROXIMITY SENSOR
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Light may always travel in a straight line, but it bounces off nearly everything. You can use this to your advantage to build an infrared collision detection system. You can mount several infrared bumper sensors around the periphery of your robot. They can be linked together to tell the robot that something is out there, or they can provide specific details about the outside environment to a computer or control circuit. The basic infrared detector is shown in Fig. 30-1 (refer to the parts list in Table 30-1). It provides an output that can be polled by a robot s controller comparator or ADC input. This uses an infrared LED and infrared phototransistor. Fig. 30-2 shows how the LED and phototransistor might be mounted around the base of the robot to detect an obstacle like a wall, chair, or person. Sensitivity can be adjusted by changing the value of R2; reduce the value to increase sensitivity. An increase in sensitivity means that the robot will be able to detect objects farther away. A decrease in sensitivity means that the robot must be fairly close to the object before it is detected. Bear in mind that all objects reflect light in different ways. You ll probably want to adjust the sensitivity so the robot behaves itself best in a room with white walls. But that sensitivity may not be as great when the robot comes to a dark brown couch or the coal gray suit of your boss. The infrared phototransistor should be baffled blocked from both ambient room light as well as direct light from the LED. The positioning of the LED and phototransistor is very important, and you must take care to ensure that the two are properly aligned. You may wish to mount the LED phototransistor pair in a small block of wood. Drill holes for the LED and phototransistor.
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TABLE 30-1 R1 R2 Q1 LED1 Misc.
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Parts List for Infrared Proximity Switch 270 resistor 10K resistor Infrared sensitive phototransistor Infrared light-emitting diode Infrared filter for phototransistor (if needed)
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OBJECT DETECTION
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+5 vdc
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R2 10K Output LED Phototransistor
LED1
Q1 Baffle
FIGURE 30-1 The basic design of the infrared proximity sensor.
Or, if you prefer, you can buy the detector pair already made up and installed in a similar block. The component shown in Fig. 30-3 is a TIL139 (or equivalent) from Texas Instruments. This particular component was purchased at a surplus store for about $1.
30.2.2 BETTER IR PROXIMITY SENSOR
In 16, the TV remote control, which receives a modulated infrared light signal, was introduced as a basic method of providing a remote control to robots. Along with receiving commands for robot movement, it can also be used to seek out and find the range to objects around a robot just as a submarine detects objects around it using sonar. The equipment required to provide this capability just costs a few dollars and is surprisingly easy to experiment with as will be shown in the following section. An IR LED can be used to generate a modulated IR signal using the hardware shown in Fig. 30-4. The modulated IR signal lasts for about 500 s, which is enough time for the TV remote control receiver to recognize it. If there is no object from which the signal can reflect off of, the TV remote control receiver does not indicate that a signal is present. The modu-
FIGURE 30-2 How the sensor is used to test proximity to a nearby object.
30.2 NONCONTACT NEAR-OBJECT DETECTION
FIGURE 30-3 The Texas Instruments TIL139 infrared emitter/detector sensor unit. These types of units are often available on the surplus market.
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