Overview

Ringo is my project for utilizing the Raspberry Pi $25 ARM Linux box. My initial idea is to connect the RPi to some motors and some wheels and thus have a Linux-enabled miniature car. Once I have that – it can become whatever I want.

As ┬ámy background is software-related, I have very little experience with robotics and low-level electronics. So while the project isn’t very original nor complex, it will be a challenging one for me.

My ultimate goal is to be able to write intelligent software that allows Ringo to function as an autonomous machine without human input.

Overview

This is the initial overview of hardware involved:

The grey boxes represent (potential) future add-ons to the rover.

Phase 1: Acquire knowledge and hardware needed

For this, I will be assembling a list of hardware needed and acquire them – both for the rover itself (e.g. motors) and the tools needed (e.g. soldering iron). I’ve set up a list of resources found here. The completion of this phase will obviously be pending on the release of Raspberry Pi and the Gertboard.

Phase 2: Assemble Gertboard and Platform

The Gertboard is shipped in pieces and will need to be assembled. This will be a true test for my limited know-how in soldering and electronics.

Depending on the platform of choice, it will likely also need to be assembled.

Phase 3: Connect RPi -> Gertboard -> Motors/Servos

Exactly what is needed here depends on hardware chosen for the rover platform and its motors/servos.

Phase 4: Write low-level API

It will be critical to write a solid API that handles the low-level signaling to control the motors/sensors. This will also enable control testing.

Phase 5: Connect RPi -> PC

Connect the RPi to a computer network using the ethernet port. Then write IP-based software that allows a PC to control the rover.

Phase 6: Add camera to RPi

Connect the RPi to a linux-compatible webcam. Add video streaming capability to the software which allows the camera’s video feed to be streamed from the PC.

Possible driver issues.

Phase 7: Add 802.11 WLAN adapter to RPi

Connect the RPi to an 802.11 WLAN adapter that allows the rover to communicate with a PC without wires.

Possible driver issues.

Phase 8: N/A

At this point, the rover should be able to wirelessly communicate with a PC and be controlled as well as stream video. Here begins the work of making the rover function autonomously (without direct human input).

 

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