Telerobotic Tank

telerobotic tank

the ‘mars rover‘ is a telepresence robot made by robo-hobbiest kerwin lumpkins.  he created it as a mock up of the real mars rover, but on a more down-to-earth scale.

controlling the tank is a general purpose robotics development board, also designed by kerwin.  the darc board takes input from infrared and sonar sensors, controls locomotion and camera aim, and has basic ability to make decisions based on a combination of its immediate environment and operator commands which are sent to the robot over a rf modem connection.

here’s what makes this cool.  if the robot detects that a given command would place in in jeopardy (such as running into a kitchen cabinet) it will abort and send back a warning to the control station.

to better simulate a real mars rover system, kerwin uses some tivo-like time shift software to delay the incoming video signal 5 seconds.  this makes controling the rover more difficult and is why onboard decision making is a must for your own martian explorer project.

7 thoughts on “Telerobotic Tank

  1. This is a beautiful system.
    I built a home-brew outdoor ROV that utilizes traditional RC control and 2.4Ghz video from three onboard cameras.
    I never had the know-how to add a system like this to it, but it sure would be cool to add to it as a secondary aid to navagating via a video link.

    (google “probe II SG”, and try not to laugh at the ugly ROV that can ;) )

    Really cool stuff there, well done!
    I love the tank platform, it’s a classic for obvious reasons!

  2. “to better simulate a real mars rover system, kerwin uses some tivo-like time shift software to delay the incoming video signal 5 seconds.”

    Yes, he was trying to simulate an actual rover, hbarbot.

  3. I’m currently working on a linux based telerobot for my final technical thesis. Its all based around a PII 400 dell latitude laptop motherboard. An OOPic runs the sensor subsystem and interfaces to the L298D motor driver board. So far the sensors are 4 sony analog range finders mounted on RC servo’s, they provide a radar like image for the operator. The camera is a sony eyetoy webcam, its built for the playstation 2 but works great under linux. I’m currently using standard 802.llb for the wireless link. The current motors are way too small and its mobiltiy is quite limited, infact we have had to resort to a power teather because it won’t turn with the heavy lead acid UPS batteries.

    Currently we are just getting it geared up for my thesis presntation this week. But after that is done I’m scrapping it down and possibly rebuilding it onto some sort of RC tank base and buying some lightweight batteries.

    The video feed works great but where the laptop motherboard only has usb 1.1 and the camera dosn’t scale the image properly at 320×240. It crops the image rather than scale, so its stuck at only 2.5fps and 640×480.

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