Look Ma, No Wires!

Reliable high speed wireless connectivity between two or more Arduino boards is something that everyone wanting to get rid of a tabletop tangle of wires will eventually need to implement. As part of my ongoing ERP project, I have decided to modify the ERP chassis to carry a GPS and an array of ultrasonic rangefinders. By establishing a wireless datalink, I hope to be able to build an outdoor mapping robot that would be able to map its surroundings and transmit a 3D image back to a base station.

3d Mapping

3d Mapping by a robot. Image from http://rrt.fh-wels.at/sites/robocup/mapping.html

 

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Experimental Robotic Platform Part 3: Wireless Commands and Remote Control

In this post I outline the progress made on ERP1 (Construction and basic electronics onboard ERP1 can be reviewed here) over the past few weeks…

ERP 1. Wireless Mobile Robot

ERP 1. Wireless Mobile Robot

The robotic arm is now fully operational. It has 6 Degrees of Freedom and can be controlled remotely from any laptop running the interface software.The robotic hand is capable of simple tasks such as lifting and carrying small objects. I have attached a wireless AV camera to the robotic hand. A human operator can now “see” what the robot is doing and issue commands accordingly over the wireless data link.

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Arduino RF Communications: Data Encoder for VirtualWire

Now that I am a little more comfortable with Arduino programming, I thought it was appropriate to change gears and move from communications over a serial line to RF communications. The mess of wires from my earlier haptic control project also needs cleaning up.

Mess of wiring in my haptic control project

Mess of wiring in my haptic control project

The solution – cheap and effective RF communications. These little units are unbelievably cheap (under US$1.50 for the pair). At first I was understandably sceptical whether they would even work at all, but after having played around with them for a few days now, I’m convinced that they work fine, as long as I don’t expect them to function as effectively as a Xbee.

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