vb.net barcode reader tutorial Copyright 2006, 2001, 1987 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Click here for terms of use. in Software

Maker QR Code in Software Copyright 2006, 2001, 1987 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Click here for terms of use.

Copyright 2006, 2001, 1987 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Click here for terms of use.
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AN OVERVIEW OF ROBOT BRAINS
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12.1 Brains from Discrete Components
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You can use the wiring from discrete components (transistors, resistors, etc.) to control a robot. This book contains numerous examples of this type of brain, such as the line-tracing robot circuits in 33, Navigation. The line-tracing functionality is provided by just a few common integrated logic circuits and a small assortment of transistors and resistors. Light falling on either or both of two photodetectors causes motor relays to turn on or off. The light is reflected from a piece of tape placed on the ground. Fig. 12-1 shows another common form of robot brain made from discrete component parts. This brain makes the robot reverse direction when it sees a bright light. The circuit is simple, as is the functionality of the robot: light shining on the photodetector turns on a relay. Variations of this circuit could make the robot stop when it sees a bright light. By using two sensors, each connected to separate motors (much like the line-tracers of 33), you could make the robot follow a bright light source as it moves. By simply reversing the sensor connections to the motors, you can make the robot behave in the opposite manner as shown in Fig. 12-1, such as steering away from the light source, instead of driving toward it. See Fig. 12-2 for an example.
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FIGURE 12-1 Only a few electronic components are needed to control a robot using the stimulus of a sensor.
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12.1 BRAINS FROM DISCRETE COMPONENTS
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FIGURE 12-2 By connecting the sensors and control electronics differently, a robot can be made to behave in different ways.
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You could add additional simple circuitry to extend the functionality of robots that use discrete components for brains. For instance, you could use a 555 timer as a time delay: trigger the timer and it runs for 5 or 6 s, then stops. You could wire the 555 to a relay so it applies juice only for a specific amount of time. In a two-motor robot, using two 555 timers with different time delays could make the thing steer around walls and other obstacles.
12.1.1 BEAM TECHNOLOGY
Over the past 15 years, robotics expert Mark Tilden has been designing and testing a class of unique robots that fall into their own classification, which he calls BEAM. These small robots, which can generally be built in an afternoon using mostly reclaimed parts from various electronics devices found around the house, are an excellent way to learn about different robot motors and actuators as well as to see electronic devices working in ways that their designers definitely never intended. Along with the learning aspects of BEAM technology and robots, there are a number of competitive events that have been designed around different basic BEAM operations that are fun and inexpensive to compete in.
AN OVERVIEW OF ROBOT BRAINS
BEAM is an acronym for:
Biology. These robots often not only mimic the different structures and behaviors of living organisms, but with their simple construction BEAM robots are meant to evolve through humans continually improving them. It must also be pointed out that an important feature of BEAM technology is the use of renewable energy sources (primarily photocells) for power, which the robots feed from. This need for feeding is often part of the overall operation of the robots. Electronics. The control and motor drivers used in the robots. As previously noted, many example BEAM robots bend the operation of different components to perform actions that are suited to controlling the operation of the robots. Aesthetics. Unlike most robots, BEAM robots are designed and constructed with thought applied to what the robot will look like when it is completed. The desire is to have the function of the robot to be immediately obvious from its form. Mechanics. Instead of the traditional robot shapes, BEAM robots are very efficiently designed, both with an eye toward the aesthetics of the design and making the operation of the robot as efficient as possible by using simple electronic parts that do not have to be tailored to specific motors and sensors.
Normally when you are in a surplus store or pulling apart an old VCR, you are looking at the motors and drive electronics as parts that will be built into a much larger robot. A BEAM roboticist will be looking at the subassembly the motor is built into and how to use that as the basis for an entire robot. This difference in approach is what makes BEAM technology so special. BEAM robots are a fascinating branch of robots, but the lack of computer control and their typically small size makes them quite difficult to adapt to more than one application or multiple environments. In the appendices, different BEAM resources are listed and it is recommended that you look through them for the technical information and to marvel at the elegance of their designs.
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