Tuesday, 29 September 2015

ArcTuRus v1.0

Ever wanted to build a robot?  Of course you have!  You could just "buy" one pre-done and job done, but where's the fun in that?

I was thinking..... robot interest flared at the end of the 90s and early 2000s but like the mobile industry it took a bit of a nosedive afterwards, just like the mobile industry.  The technology has now moved on leaps and bounds, what would be involved in building a robot that you could just bolt together and write a little bit of C code for?

Back in the day(late 80's), I got a GCSE in electronics, it interested me, but it was too low level.  I learnt the colour coding of resistors, making PCB boards, etc... but I'm a developer, not an engineer.  I don't "make" widgets, I "use" widgets to get a job done.  It took a few years for me to realise that.

Keeping that in mind, now that the Arduino has matured and the Arduino Shields have come on a long way, these have now become "widgets" that can be bolted together to achieve an end goal.

I decided it was well overdue that I should start to build a meaningful robot that could detect it's surroundings via ultrasonic and infrared sensors, use an object recognition camera to detect objects and react to them, as well as controlling wheel motors for movement and just for kicks have the robot "talk" and connect to the internet.  I had a week "vacation", therein, ArcTuRus v1.0 was born  :-)

So, I'm starting small and working my way to BIG.

This is part 1 of a multi-step guide on how you too, can use an Arduino to build a robot and connect to the internet and utilise NodeJS/Watson and associated services (such as Node Red) to do things you only dreamt about as a kid... well, it IS the 21st century after all, so isn't it about time these things became a reality?...

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Project Tango

Google....good old Google have decided that the phone is not enough being just a phone.  It needs to evolve.

Let me introduce you to PROJECT TANGO:

"Project Tango brings Motion Tracking, Depth Perception, and Area Learning to mobile devices. Thousands of developers are building experiences that do things like finding your way around, measuring your world, and walking through stories.
Show everyone what you can do with Project Tango by getting a Tablet Development Kit, creating an application, and uploading it to the Play Store. We believe this journey is one worth following."

Well, I "was" building myself an Arduino based robot this week that could basically do all these things shown in the nice diagram above.... I'm now wondering if I should bother?  or should I just get myself a DEV KIT and use all the cool new tools/toys from Google instead?

Nah, I think I'll continue building the robot side of things myself....and wait for v2 of the DEV KIT (as that's the day job and this is just meant to be "fun").

The good news is, it doesn't matter what I do....I just need to be involved and involved in the evolution of "mobile", the evolution of "phone" and the integration with "robot".

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Arduino and Sparkfun ESP8266 WiFi Shield

After blowing the dust off the Arduino 'robots' that have been sitting on a spare desk in the "home office" for the past couple of years, I decided to see how much things have changed in the land of the new buzzword: Internet-Of-Things (IoT).

I just ordered 9-10 items from DFRobot (how did it reach £200!?!), but, as they are in China, it's going to take a little while to receive the parts.  One of the items I ordered was the TEL0047 WiFi Shield for £50.

In my impatience, I set about seeing what else was available.  I discovered the CC3000 WiFi Breakout board for about £30, it looked promising.

Then I found the Sparkfun ESP8266 WiFi Shield at Pimoroni.com for £15 including P&P.  [BUY] button pressed.  Arrived the next day.


If you don't have something hooked up to the internet soon, I'll be very surprised!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Pokemon Go

Augmented Reality and Pokemon Go.... just moved up to a whole new level!

Pokemon Go for Android & iPhone

Told you 2016 was going to be the game changing year :-)