MSR Predator

Hexapod Robots

MSR Predator

Postby wattsie » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:57 am

A little bit about myself…

I’m 25 and from Manchester UK, For the last 3 years I have been self employed, working on contract for Sellafield Nuclear Power plant in the Lake District. I design a wide variety of things, mainly machinery, but have touched upon pipework, structural, civil and crane areas. I particularly enjoy the robotics jobs I get, sadly there aren’t too many. It seemed fitting to get a job that continued my love of designing things.

Having spent years designing and racing radio control cars, I had a brief stint with rc helicopters and planes, but decided I should stick to land based creations (less chance of your pride and joy hitting the floor from a great height with great speed) Amateur robotics were stating to get a little cheaper and I decided to get a Parallax BoeBot. Little did I know I was going to be hooked....

I’m currently trying to read everything available and get my head around the electronics and programming side of things. I have been finding many of the posts on this site very helpful, so thanks to all. I have noticed that most robots on the site have a specific function, a purpose in a way, and now my hexapod has finally found one!

And a lilt bit about my project….

I eventually talked a colleague into buying a BoeBot, and between us we programmed a very simple infra red tank action into one, this chased the other around and fired when it was ready. This was a very simple version of what could have been a very interesting (and complicated) programming project. Sadly, the code is now lost, and the backups long gone after a re-install of the pc… So I will be starting again with my tank project. This time… with a twist…..

I plan to mount a infra-red (possibly) ‘gun’ on top of my hexapod, and use it to hunt down the prey, in this case the BoeBot, or maybe a more custom made version. Im still in the mechanical planning stages at present, but will hopefully be getting my hands dirty in the next few weeks. I believe that this project could hold a lot of potential for evolution of the theme in the future, maybe there can be more than on prey, maybe the prey could shoot back ??

Ill try and keep a regular post of the progress in case anyone is interested!

Until next time....

Wattsie
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Re: MSR Predator

Postby BillB » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:36 pm

Wattsie,

Sounds like a fun project.

I too am from the UK. I have been involved in the hobbyist UK Humanoid Robotic scene for a while, but over the last year have migrated over to Hexapods.

From an engineering and programming perspective the Hexapods are much more satisfying than the humanoids. The only trouble with Hexapods is that, so far, there is no spectator sport for them to compete in. With humanoids I have been involved in Kung-fu, Sumo and Soccer competitions which are all very entertaining for spectators (who are all potential hexapod owners and enthusiasts). We also had sprints and obstacle courses, but they are not nearly as entertaining.

Unfortunately Kung-fu and Sumo to not lend themselves to Hexapods very well. Although soccer may have potential.

I will be very interested in how you get on with this project. It may be the killer-app for Hexapods, paticularly if the prey is able to hide behind or climb up obstacles.

There are a few UK hexapod enthusiasts around. Hopefully someday we could all meet up for Hexapod Soccer of even "Hunter Prey".

Bill

P.S. You may also want to google Mechwarfare on some of the other robot forums - they are making progress with light weight, low power gun and sensors.
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Re: MSR Predator

Postby Matt Denton » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:42 am

Sounds like a great idea! :)

I once considered and arena type event with remote controlled hexapods, the pilot would only have an hexapod eye view of the arena, e.g. first person perspective, and possible a separate gunner with his own video feed front he gun.. Then maybe throw in some autonomous hunters..
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Re: MSR Predator

Postby wattsie » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:03 pm

First bit of free time today, so I started to knock together some very basic prototypes:

Prey:

Pretty straight forward, my boebot with a pair of Sharp digital distance sensors. I plan to use 4 in the end, but 2 will do for now (and i only had two in my box!). This will allow the boebot to navigate around without hitting anything using some simple programming. My main attention on this side of the project is the way the predator will track the prey, and register/acknowledge on target shots. I belive that a pair of Pololu ir beacons will work for the tracking and will take the directional decision control away from the robots as this is done on board, but I'm open to any other ideas!
IR beacons..... http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/702

Predator:

Started on a trial run of the 'gun' which is an easily removable backpack. For now the head pan and tilt servo connections are used to raise the gun and pivot it using the PS2 controller. The gun will have an infra red LED in the barrel which will flash for a shot, this should be realatively easy to pick up with an infra red detector on the boebot.

Pictures to follow once I figure out how to put them up!

wattsie
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Re: MSR Predator

Postby wattsie » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:04 pm

Photos....

Bear in mind that these are VERY rough prototypes and are really just to check the theory. The finished item, once all the tinkering is done will keep a similar feel to the MSR-H01, mechanical, but still kind of organic looking.

Prey:

BoeBot with 2 Pololu/Sharp sensors (for now)

Image

Predator:

Top plate of hex showing mounted 'gun backpack' in down and up positions. Due to the rotate servo dropping into the hole in the top plate, the BotBoard II had to be moved back as shown in the 3rd pic.

Image

Image

Image


And shown all put back together and standing tall

Image

Wattsie
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Re: MSR Predator

Postby wuselfuzz » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:10 am

One thing I thought about recently: autonomous (where's the fun in RC?) robot lasertagging. :)

Each participant would have to mount a standardized breaker circuit with a photo transistor that shuts off the bot's power after 3 hits or something.
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Re: MSR Predator

Postby wattsie » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:21 am

Shutting the power down is an idea on the list of progressions for the project, once the basics are out of the way:

1, Allowing the prey to retun fire??
2, Different 'reload' time between shots, maybe let the prey fire back quicker??
3, Allowing a different amount of damage from hits, faster shots but with less damage vs slower shots with more damage??
4, An option to use a camera rather than autonomous??
5, Using a circuit breaker to shut down the power or disable for a few seconds??

The list goes on and on.... but there is still a lot to be done in the meantime....

As i said before, any ideas are welcome!

Wattsie
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Re: MSR Predator

Postby BillB » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:01 pm

Ahhh - the game of hunter and prey makes more sense now(that I have seen the pics).

I like the idea alot. Perhaps there could be an areana with obstacles in which the hunter would need to seek out the prey. Once found, the prey would randomly wizz off somewhere else. The nice thing about Hunter-Prey is that it could be played by more than one Hunter. Having Hunter Hexapods competing against each other would be more entertaining competition.

Also I like Matts suggestion of a autonomous hunters, especially if they could hunt the hunters (does that make them predators). (since the predators are autonomous they probably would not be very efficient at tagging the hunters, but they could be good enough to punish the Hunters who stand still in strategic positions.

I think it may be time to start making some prey.
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Re: MSR Predator

Postby BillB » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:05 pm

Perhaps the scoring system could be something like this:

+5 Point for tagging (aka shooting) the prey
-10 points for being tagged by the autonomous predators.
+20 points for trapping the prey between the legs of the hexapod.

Assumption here is that trapping the prey between the hexapod legs will be difficult to do (and would probably require manual intervention to release the prey).
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Re: MSR Predator

Postby wattsie » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:33 pm

Sadly there hasnt been much progress recently, as during a test run, the BOEbot controlled object avoidance system decided to drive the prey down the stairs.... I tried to catch it, (picture me flying to grab it, but failing....) The BOE board has been smashed up and the BS2 chip has taken a good few legs off, so its dead to the world!

Anyhow, another BOE & BS2 has been ordered, and should be arriving tomorrow, with a bit of luck, and some free time, we may have some progress to report!

I have been experimenting with designs for the gun backpack on the hex, Im trying to avoid using the Lynxmotion SES brackets, purely out of defiance of price!

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