Website Transition

Today I transferred a lot of content to a new WordPress site (which you are reading now.) This is the fourth version of my website and marks the departure from the custom content managements system I started in high school. There is still a lot more content to move, but hopefully this will be a much better website going forward since I can spend more time adding content and less time coding…

Neato XV-11 Laser USB Interface Board

One of the sensors I intend on integrating into my Mecanumbot is the 2D laser range finder from the Neato XV-11 robot. To make the connection between the laser and the computer cleaner, I decided to make a PCB. (My first PCB! Woohoo!) I followed the schematic from the Neato Laser guide on the ROS wiki. I later found out that there was one error in the schematic – the…

Mecanumbot Gets a New Body

After a few sleepless nights, I have finally milled out the pieces for my Mecanum-wheeled robot body. The outer and bottom body pieces are made out of 1/8″ G10/FR4 Garolite. The top two layers are made from transparent polycarbonite. A thin layer of transparent silicon will be placed on the top-most layer of polycarbonite to provide some friction when transporting objects on the top. All of the pieces are held…

Mecanumbot Motor Testing

This passed week I have been playing with the new motors and motor drivers I got for the Mecanumbot. I used some MicroRAX pieces and the supplied motor brackets to piece everything today. I controlled the MD25 motor controllers over I2C using an Arduino which was getting commands from an RC transmitter. Unfortunately the naive method of reading in the RC receiver signals of only three channels takes up nearly…

Starting New Project: The Mecanumbot

Alright. I have decided that I do not have the time or desire to figure out the controls problems that the Ball Bot presents. I really am interested in the navigation and localization challenges that I can work on with a functioning robotic platform. So what I need is a platform that is easy and that I know will work. Enter in the statically stable, four wheeled robot that I…

Serial7 Arduino Library

I wrote an Arduino library for SparkFun’s serial 7-segment displays and figured others might find it useful. It essentially takes care of outputting a number over serial including shifting around the decimal point. A zip file of the library is available below. Here is the contents of the library readme file: This library is designed to output an arbitrary number to the SparkFun 7-segement serial displays (https://github.com/sparkfun/Serial7SegmentDisplay.) The included example…

SpaceX Microcontroller Class

I taught a microcontroller class to a few people at work this week. The goal of the class was to show people how easy it is to interface hardware and software with an Arduino. Each participant was given a little project to complete by the end of the day. The first half of the class was dedicated to some standard tutorials which everyone participated in. The second was for the…

Last Day at Illumin

Today is my last day at Illumin – the online magazine of the Viterbi School of Engineering. I held the position of webmaster for four years, and I like to think that I had a positive effect on the magazine. My biggest achievements during my time at Illumin was rewritting the entire content management system from scratch as well revamping the site styling. The new content management system helps Illumin staff manage…

Identify Duplos ROS Package

The goal of this project is to “count the Duplos on the table.” The tools available include a point cloud-­‐producing sensor (the Kinect), ROS, the Robotic Operating system from Willow Garage, and PCL, the Point Cloud library. An end goal for this project is to provide some usual information to another agent such as a robotic arm motion planner. The information provided could help the motion planner manipulate LEGO Duplos.…