CAN and CCP/XCP for Error Detection and Calibration

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CAN logger kvasser

Kvaser reached out to me about writing a sponsored post to put on this site. I have used many Kvaser CAN interfaces in the past. Since they work well and are reliable I agreed. I also dont know anything about CCP/XCP; so this should be interesting. This is my first time accepting a sponsored post […]

LIDAR vs RADAR: A Detailed Comparison

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Radar usage

Hi all I was recently asked about the differences between RADAR and LIDAR. I gave the generic answer about LIDAR having higher resolution and accuracy than RADAR. And RADAR having a longer range and performing better in dust and smokey conditions. When prompted for why RADAR is less accurate and lower resolution I was asked […]

SICK LMS Full LIDAR Teardown

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LMS 291 Fully disassembled

I recently found a SICK LMS291 in the trash (dumpster diving time!). It is a bit of an older model as it was manufactured in August 2000, however the fundamentals should be similiar to the current generation of sensors. If you look at robots from that era you will often see them covered in this […]

Systems Engineering & Project Planning

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Various System Lifecycles DoD ISO

Systems engineering is the part of project management that deals with defining and developing a system (as opposed to contracts and resource allocation). Systems engineering provides the background and definitions so that the next step of project execution can occur. Often there is a cyclical process of looking at requirement definitions from the systems engineer […]

Motor Control Systems – Bode Plot & Stability

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Set point feedback controller

What is a control system? A control system alters the future state of its system to a more desirable outcome. We often work with feedback control systems (also called closed-loop control), where the result of the command is fed back into the control system. In particular we are looking for the error between the command […]

Perception in Smoke, Dust or Fog

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Robot Operating in Smoke Fog Dust

I recently had the fortune to attend a talk titled Multi-Modal Data for Perception in Smoke-Filled Underground Mines by Joe Bartels. It was an interesting talk about pushing sensor technology into difficult environments that can have smoke, dust or fog . The following are notes that I took during the talk, as always I add […]

chrony with GPS for Time Synchronization – Kicks NTP’s A$$

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time syncing

Time synchronization is something that affects many robots. As robots have more computers and more sensors keeping everything in sync becomes increasingly important. Trying to look through log files where all of the times are skewed is not fun and makes processing difficult. Merging sensor data together with GPS can also be disastrous if the […]

Camera & Lens Selection

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camera specs

Choosing a camera for your robot or machine vision system can be confusing. It is important to determine your requirements and then figure out how to achieve that between the camera and the optics. The first thing that most people talk about is resolution. The classic resolution of a camera is based on pixels; such […]

Incremental Encoder Selection

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quadrature encoder

Hi all Just a quick post on incremental encoders. Incremental encoders are good for speed control and can be used for position control when we have a homing routine to get absolute position, or the system is constrained to less than one rotation. One way an incremental encoder can also be an absolute encoder is […]

PID Control (with code), Verification, and Scheduling

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PID equations

Hi all PID controllers are the workhorse of the controls world. PID controllers have the goal of taking some error in your system and reducing it to 0. While there are many other control strategies out there PID is probably the most common (unless you count human control) outside of just setting a setpoint. There […]

Environmental Sensing and Monitoring

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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. […]

LIDAR (Laser Scanner) Review Comparisons

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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 Laser Scanner – LIDAR Overview

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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 Laser Scanner – LIDAR Overview

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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 (Laser Scanner) Fundamentals

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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 Laser Scanner – LIDAR Overview

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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 & TiM571 Laser Scanner – LIDAR Overview

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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 […]

Evaluating LIDAR (Laser Scanner) Guide

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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 […]

Debugging: A guide to troubleshooting

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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?)

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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 […]

GPS and Global Absolute Positioning

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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 […]

Time and Clock Synchronization

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Wooden_hourglass

Hi all Time. Don’t you wish you had more of it? If you were a robot you would probably be worrying about having consistent time. Why do we need consistent time? In many robots there are multiple systems/computers that are generating and using data, if the systems/computers are not in sync than the result can […]

Designing for Success – Field Testing Series – Part 2

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field testing

This post is part of a series on testing robots with a focus on field testing. It will start with why we test robots, work its way through planning for a field test, to performing the test, and finally what to do after the test. We will conclude with a description of many common tests […]

Sensor characteristics guide – How to understand your sensor

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sensor datasheet

Hi all Ok, so you read my last post on sensor types (you did, didn’t you? if not check it out here) and you now know which sensor you want to use. How do you choose which sensor option to choose? That is a great question, this post will go into details of the various […]

Sensor types (modalities) for robots to experience the world

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velodyne laser

Hi all There are many different sensor types that can be used on a robot, and most robots will have many different sensor types. I am going to talk about the common types and avoid some of the more application specific sensors such as environmental, radiation and chemical. When I think of sensors I divide […]

Software that Forms a Robot

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software flow in a robot

Hi all While many people find it boring, one thing that has always interested me is the software infrastructure of a robot. By infrastructure I mean the code that all robots have and that binds everything else together. This includes the things like the interprocess communication (IPC) method, the system executive, the health monitor and […]