vb.net barcode scanner programming ROBOT LOCOMOTION PRINCIPLES in Software

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220 ROBOT LOCOMOTION PRINCIPLES
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Deck FIGURE 16.1 Decked robots provide extra space for batteries and electronics, but they can also add considerably to the weight. Use lightweight construction materials to avoid unduly increasing the weight of the robot.
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There are three general fixes for this problem: reduce the weight, strengthen the frame, or add cross braces to prevent the wheels from cambering. Strengthening the frame usually involves adding even more weight. So if you can, strive for the first solution instead reduce the weight. If you can t reduce weight, look for ways to add support beams or braces to prevent the sagging. An extra cross brace along the wheelbase (perhaps stretched between the two motors) may be all that s required to prevent the problem. The cross-brace can be made of lightweight aluminum tubing or even from a wooden dowel. The tubing or dowel does not need to support any weight; it simply needs to act as a brace to prevent compression when the frame sags and the wheels camber. Yet another method is to apply extreme camber to the wheels, as shown in Fig. 16.2. This minimizes the negative effects of any sagging, and if the tires have a high frictional surface traction is not diminished. However, don t do this with smooth, hard plastic wheels as they don t provide sufficient traction. You can camber the wheels outward or inward. Inward (negative) camber was used in the old Topo and Bob robots made by Nolan Bushnell s failed Androbot company of the mid-1980s. The heavy-duty robot in Fig. 16.2 uses outward (positive) camber. The robot can easily support over 20 pounds in addition to its own weight, which is about 10 pounds, with battery, which is slung under the frame using industrial-strength hook-and-loop (Velcro or similar) fasteners.
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Horizontal Center of Balance
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Your robot s horizontal center of balance (think of it as a balance scale) indicates how well the weight of the robot is distributed on its base. If all the weight of a robot is to one side, for example, then the base will have a lopsided horizontal center of balance. The result is an unstable robot: the robot may not travel in a straight line and it might even tip over. Ideally, the horizontal center of balance of a robot should be the center of its base (see Fig. 16.3a). Some variation of this theme is allowable, depending on the construction of
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VERTICAL CENTER OF GRAVITY
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FIGURE 16.2 This Tee-Bot (so named because it employs the T-braces used for home construction) uses extreme camber to avoid the frame sagging that results from too much weight.
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the robot. For a robot with a single balancing caster, as shown in Fig. 16.3b, it is usually acceptable to place more weight over the drive wheels and less on the caster. This increases traction, and as long as the horizontal center of balance isn t extreme there is no risk that the robot will tip over. Unequal weight distribution is the most troublesome result if the horizontal center of balance favors one wheel or track over the other the right side versus the left side, for example. This can cause the robot to continually crab toward the heavier side. Since the heavier side has more weight, traction is improved, but motor speed may be impaired because of the extra load.
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Vertical Center of Gravity
City skyscrapers must be rooted firmly in the ground or else there is a risk they will topple over in the slightest wind. The taller an object is, the higher its center of gravity. Of
222 ROBOT LOCOMOTION PRINCIPLES
Weight
Weight
FIGURE 16.3 The distribution of weight on a robot affects its stability and traction. a. Centering the weight down the middle in a robot with two balancing casters; b. Sliding the center of balance toward the drive wheel in a single-caster bot.
critical importance to vertical center of gravity is the footprint or base area of the object that is, the amount of area contacting the ground. The ratio between the vertical center of gravity and the area of the base determines how likely it is that the object will fall over. A robot with a small base but high vertical center of gravity risks toppling over. You can correct such a design in either of two ways:
I Reduce the height of the robot to better match the area of the base, or I Increase the area of the base to compensate for the height of the robot.
(There is also a third method called dynamic balance. Here, mechanical weight is dynamically repositioned to keep the robot on even kilter. These systems are difficult to engineer and, in any event, are beyond the scope of this book.) Which method you choose will largely depend on what you plan to use your robot for. For example, a robot that must interact with people should be at least toddler height. For a
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