Ubuntu Boot Automatically After Failed Shutdown – Stuck at Bootloader

by on September 15, 2014

Ubuntu

Hi This is going to be a very short post about a Ubuntu boot issues (I know, very sexy topic). Many of the robots I work on are running Ubuntu and this is a very annoying “feature” that you might want to disable. The problem with versions of Ubuntu from the past few years is […]

Soldering Tutorials

by on September 8, 2014

soldering

Hi all Here are a few soldering tutorials that might be of interest to you. These first two are your day-to-day standard soldering methods. There are many of these types of videos online. This next set of tutorials is for high reliability “proper” soldering techniques. This is actually why I am writing this post. These […]

Mars Rovers

by on September 1, 2014

mars rovers

Hi all It is surprisingly hard to find a list of the technology used in the mars rovers. Here is a quick post summarizing some of the technology used in the NASA JPL Mars rovers. The list is only partialy complete since I do not have all of the information. Please leave comments below to […]

Environmental Sensing and Monitoring

by on August 25, 2014

Weather Station

Hi all There are many different types of sensors that can be used for monitoring environmental data. In this post I will focus on natural environmental sensors. By natural I mean I mostly naturally occurring phenomena such as sunlight and temperature. I will mostly ignore things like chemical detection and radiation (the bad kind) detection. […]

Computer Field Recovery Kit

by on August 21, 2014

computer repair

Hi all So I got a question about what I bring to the field with me when I am taking a robot out for testing. The simple answer is everything that I might need. Here is a list of the basics that a carry with me. I have a box labeled Computer Recovery Kit that […]

Position Tracking: Total Station

by on June 13, 2014

leica total station

Tracking the position of a robot is difficult to do accurately, especially when you need to track position in a variety of locations. GPS is not accurate for small movements and can have jumps as the position estimate changes. One good solution is the Leica Total Station. The Total Station can measure a robots position […]

Book Review: Disaster Robotics by Robin Murphy

by on May 22, 2014

disaster robotics

One of my personal interests is in disaster robotics. I like them for two reasons. The first is that I like the idea of being able to try and save people (I know I could have become a doctor). The other reason I like robots is that they need to operate in “extreme terrain and […]

LIDAR Review Comparisons

by on May 15, 2014

LIDAR's Used

This is part of a series of posts talking about some of the common LIDAR’s used in robotics. At the end of these sensor profile articles there will be a final post that compares the sensors based on data collected by each of the sensors. Posts: Evaluating LIDAR Guide LIDAR Fundamentals SICK TiM551 – LIDAR […]

SICK LMS511 – LIDAR Overview

by on May 12, 2014

SICK LMS500

This is part of a series of posts talking about some of the common LIDAR’s used in robotics. At the end of these sensor profile articles there will be a final post that compares the sensors based on data collected by each of the sensors. Posts: Evaluating LIDAR Guide LIDAR Fundamentals SICK TiM551 – LIDAR […]

Hokuyo UTM-30LX – LIDAR Overview

by on May 8, 2014

Hokuyo UTM-30LX

This is part of a series of posts talking about some of the common LIDAR’s used in robotics. At the end of these sensor profile articles there will be a final post that compares the sensors based on data collected by each of the sensors. Posts: Evaluating LIDAR Guide LIDAR Fundamentals SICK TiM551 – LIDAR […]

LIDAR Fundamentals

by on May 5, 2014

LIDAR Plane Points

This is part of a series of posts talking about some of the common LIDAR’s used in robotics. At the end of these sensor profile articles there will be a final post that compares the sensors based on data collected by each of the sensors. Posts: Evaluating LIDAR Guide LIDAR Fundamentals SICK TiM551 – LIDAR […]

SICK LMS111 – LIDAR Overview

by on May 1, 2014

SICK LMS111

This is part of a series of posts talking about some of the common LIDAR’s used in robotics. At the end of these sensor profile articles there will be a final post that compares the sensors based on data collected by each of the sensors. Posts: Evaluating LIDAR Guide LIDAR Fundamentals SICK TiM551 – LIDAR […]

SICK TiM551 – LIDAR Overview

by on April 29, 2014

SICK TiM551

This is part of a series of posts talking about some of the common LIDAR’s used in robotics. At the end of these sensor profile articles there will be a final post that compares the sensors based on data collected by each of the sensors. Posts: Evaluating LIDAR Guide LIDAR Fundamentals SICK TiM551 – LIDAR […]

Book Review: Learning ROS for Robotics Programming by Martinez and Fernandez

by on April 23, 2014

learning ros book

Hi I have only used the Robot Operating System (ROS) for several small things so I wanted to review a book on learning ROS both so that I could learn more about ROS and because ROS is increasingly being used for more robotics applications and is good for all of us to become familiar with […]

Project Management

by on April 17, 2014

quad chart

Hi all I am going to take a break from the technical to discuss how to run a project. During my career I have experienced several project managers and have heard from many others about their project managers. Here is my distilled list of how to run a technology (and just about any other) project. […]

Creating Wire Harness Diagrams

by on April 3, 2014

wire harness

(See full size wire harness diagram here) Hi all So it is time to think about wiring up your robot, one of the key steps before you begin is to develop a wiring diagram. A wiring diagram is not only needed for wiring the robot but is also a valuable resource to have if you […]

Selecting and Sizing Your Motor (and gear boxes)

by on March 31, 2014

motor planetary and harmonic gears

Hi all Selecting a motor is a critical task when designing a robot. In a prior post we discussed the different types of motors and feedback options as well as how to control those motors. In this post we will focus on how to size your motor and select the proper gearing. In the main […]

Amazon Quadcopter Delivery Plans

by on March 27, 2014

amazon quadcopter

Hi all I have received a lot of questions from friends and family about the Amazon Prime Air delivery (if you have not heard about this check out the video at the bottom of this post). I know for some this is old news, but I am talking about it anyway. The basic idea is […]

CAN bus (CANopen & CiA) for Motor Control

by on March 24, 2014

CAN topology

A Controller Area Network, or CAN for short is a common message based protocol used in cars and other vehicles. If you are trying to interface with a car/truck/bulldozer, there is a good chance that you will be reading data its CAN bus, and sending it commands via its CAN bus. It is also used […]

Read Only Operating Systems

by on March 20, 2014

kernal panic

Hi all Most robots have a computer inside that is responsible for controlling the robot. Many robots will have multiple computers, each responsible for a different part of the robot. How do you make sure that the operating system and possibly the software that runs the robot does not get corrupt (and avoid kernel panics)? […]

Book Review: Robotics, Vision and Control Fundamental Algorithms in MATLAB by Peter Corke

by on March 17, 2014

vision control matlab

Hi all Here is a book review on Peter Corke’s Robotics, Vision and Control, published in 2011 (and 2013). I decided to review this book since it has a lot of Matlab code (I know I complain about Matlab latter on) and examples that *could* be useful when developing real systems, testing a specific algorithm, […]

Evaluating LIDAR Guide

by on March 13, 2014

LIDAR animation

This is part of a series of posts talking about some of the common LIDAR’s used in robotics. At the end of these sensor profile articles there will be a final post that compares the sensors based on data collected by each of the sensors. Posts: Evaluating LIDAR Guide LIDAR Fundamentals SICK TiM551 – LIDAR […]

Robot Bases (and other development platforms)

by on March 10, 2014

husky robot

Hi all This is going to be a quick post. There are many cases where instead of building a full robot from scratch, you just want to buy a platform. These platforms can serve as the base of your robot that you build upon, or just as a test platform for developing/testing new software with. […]

Remote Internet Access

by on March 6, 2014

satellite internet remote location

When you are in the middle of nowhere how can you get online? Often while working with robots you must travel to remote locations with no wired (copper/fiber) internet connection or wifi. In these cases you have two primary ways to get online. When I say “you” it can really be either you or the […]

Networking for Robots: A crash course

by on March 3, 2014

robot networking

Hi all There are many people who are familiar with setting up a home network, but now lets look at how to setup a network on your robot. There are two parts to setting up a network; the hardware and the software. This post will go into both of those topics. Before I begin to […]

Debugging: A guide to troubleshooting

by on February 27, 2014

debugging rules

Hi all For some people debugging comes natural, and they will think that this entire article is obvious, however to many people I hope that this guide will help them become better at debugging systems. If you are one of those people who is an expert debugger (which comes from experience), it is often hard […]

Coordinate Systems (Where in the world is your robot?)

by on February 24, 2014

coordinate frames

Hi all There are many ways of expressing your position in the world. We can use those same methods to represent where in the world your robot is. At the highest level there are two types of coordinate frames; global and local. In the global frame the robots position is specified based on a pre-established […]

Connectors (cable to cable, wire to wire)

by on February 20, 2014

ring connectors

Ahh. Connectors. We love them and we hate them. When you wire a robot there are many places where it can be tempting to take shortcuts to save time and money. Unfortunately connectors often suffer and lose that battle. From experience and many field tests I can not stress the importance of choosing proper connectors […]

GPS and Global Absolute Positioning

by on February 17, 2014

gps satelite

Hi all Here is a post describing how to get absolute position for your robot. It discusses the basic methods and then ways to assist them for better accuracy. GPS GPS (or Global Positioning System as those in the know call it) is a widely used technology. It is not the “GPS” that you have […]

Antennas and Amplifiers for Long Distance Wireless Communications

by on February 13, 2014

independence_antenna

Hi all This is just a quick post on how to increase the range of your wireless communication system. There are several ways to do it and they mostly apply no matter what frequency you are using. We will discuss several ways to do this below. We will also discuss some of the legal limits […]