Obstacle Avoidance for Clever Robots

Most robots, especially autonomous robots, need to be clever enough to avoid bumping into obstacles. To do this they need sensors to investigate the environment around them, they need to process this data and identify obstacles in their vicinity. Finally, they need to be able to generate motor commands that steer them clear of any obstacles around them. This is the simplest form of obstacle avoidance and there are tons of examples on the internet, with plenty of little robots that can do this quite nicely.

With this sort of rudimentary obstacle avoidance algorithm, a robot could keep clear of obstacles but it would most likely wander around aimlessly while doing so. Sometimes robots need to be a little more intelligent. They need to reach a goal…perhaps they are chasing a target, perhaps they need to reach one of many way-points along a pre-determined path, perhaps they are headed toward a battery charging point or a position of interest, maybe they are meeting up with a friend, perhaps they need to duck under enemy radar cover while approaching a target!! Whatever the case, these kinds of robots…robots that can navigate intelligently, need to have a slightly more robust obstacle avoidance behaviour built into them.

Clever Robots can avoid obstacles as they head towards a goal

Clever Robots can avoid obstacles as they head towards a goal

Continue reading

Advertisements

Analemma of the Sun

I recently read that to date, Mount Everest has been scaled 1924 times.

Compare this figure to the number of people who have successfully captured the Analemma of the Sun. Any guesses? 1000, maybe 500? Nowhere even close. According to the founder of this website, in the entire history of mankind, not more than 20 people have managed to get it right.

This is the first ever photograph that successfully captured the Analemma. It was taken over a period of one year by Dennis di Cicco in 1978.

First ever recorded Analemma, Dennis di Cicco

First ever recorded Analemma, Dennis di Cicco

Continue reading