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RELATING SIMULATIONS TO THE REAL WORLD
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FIGURE 17.4
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The Boe-Bot mounts to the round foam-board body.
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Thin rubber sheet glued to bumper and body
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Rubber bumper Copper contacts Foam board body
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FIGURE 17.5 This diagram shows the operation of the bumper switches.
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If you look closely at the bumpers in Fig. 17.4 you will see that thin strips of rubber have been glued to the lower edge of the wooden embroidery hoop. These rubber strips not only provide extra cushion during collisions, but they also help ensure good contact of the copper surfaces because they ensure that the pressure from the contact will be applied to the lower half of the bumper. When a collision occurs, the bumper bends inward to make contact as shown in the diagram in Fig. 17.5. 17.2.3 INFRARED PERIMETER SENSORS Even though our robot will have physical bumpers to indicate when a collision occurs, we wanted our robot to detect objects in its path before a collision actually happens. One way to do this is with light. The idea is simple. When we want to determine if there is an object close to the robot we turn on a light source that will project its light away from the robot. If an object is close by, some of that light will be re ected back. If no re ection is detected with a phototransistor we can reasonably assume there is no object near that sensor.
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As stated earlier, this idea is easy to understand. Unfortunately, the practical implementation of it can be a little harder. To begin with, we can t use normal light unless we want our robot to operate in total darkness. An easy solution is to use infrared light and place a luminance lter that blocks visible light, but passes infrared over the phototransistor. The above solution works, but only if there are no other sources of infrared light in the robot s work area. Unfortunately, uorescent lights generate a lot of infrared. Even sunlight has enough infrared to cause problems. An easy solution to this is to modulate the light source (i.e., have it pulse at a speci ed frequency). An electronic lter can then be added to the phototransistor circuit to ensure that only the modulated light will be detected. The above sounds (and is) complicated. Fortunately nowadays, you can buy phototransistors that have an embedded electronic lter and an integrated luminance lter. The Boe-Bot kit includes two of these parts and two infrared LEDs, and the manual gives detailed experiments that show how to use them. Additional parts can be purchased separately. RobotBASIC s simulated robot has ve sensors of this type to help it detect objects in its path. Figure 17.6 shows how the real robot also has ve sensors. The wiring for each
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FIGURE 17.6 Infrared sensors are composed of an infrared LED (transmitter) and a photo-sensitive detector (receiver).
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RELATING SIMULATIONS TO THE REAL WORLD
sensor travels through the foam-board body and to a breadboard so that the sensors can be connected appropriately to the BS2. Different hobbyists will certainly connect things differently (more on this later). 17.2.4 LINE SENSORS The simulated robot has the ability to detect the presence of a line drawn on the oor. In the real world, this would be done in much the same manner as the infrared perimeter sensors described above. If the emitter and detector are mounted very close to the oor though, we don t really have to worry about other sources of infrared light, which means that we don t have to modulate the light source. The closeness of the line to the sensor does mean that the physical orientation of the emitter to the detector must be just right to get a reliable operation. Parallax has a QTI sensor that integrates both the emitter and detector into one package so that the two components are always properly aligned for line-detection and dropoff detection applications. Figure 17.7 shows both a picture of the sensor and its electrical schematic. The black lead connects to ground and the white lead to 5 V. This sensor was designed to operate in an analog mode (allows reading a gray-scale) where the microprocessor determines the time required for the capacitor to charge. For our purposes, we only need a digital output so we placed a 10 k resistor between the white and red leads as instructed in the Parallax documentation. The output (red lead) will then be either a 0 or 1, depending on whether the surface is re ective (white) or not (black). Making the sensor digital not only makes it easier to read (just read the value of the input pin it is attached to), it also makes reading the sensor much faster. We mounted three of the QTI sensors near the front of the robot very close to the oor as shown in Fig. 17.11. We also mounted two more QTI sensors to be used as drop-off detectors, which can be used in projects similar to the one in Chap. 9.
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