MIRC, as the machine is called, stands for Mechanized Interface for Robots. It can be used to carry out everyday tasks which have become mundane for you. This was a final year project for Bradford University. This acts as an interface between hardware (robot) and software that is computer. You can complete long distance work by this device and you can also play around and make your own robot. You can control with a computing device from a distance while the machine will whir and follow your every command. But what it is and itís working? Read on.
This is a modular technology to make the PC mobile. Complete with sensors, hardware of its own, it is developed for carrying out your household or industrial tasks which have become too monotonous for you. MIRC takes the command from a laptop by Fuzzy logic algorithms. Fuzzy logic is the current research under Control Systems, the branch of engineering which studies the behavior and control of systems under various conditions. Fuzzy logic enables the robot to be programmed as to avoid obstacles, wheel turning, line following. IF/THEN statements in C language were used earlier to achieve the same, but they required more commands, and were less flexible. With Fuzzy logic, modifications are†easier,†the algorithm can be modified in a way which can be adapted for large number of applications.
This robot was developed using four wheels, sensors and a web cam which forms the working body of the robot. USB devices can be added. This took 8 months to be produced. The interface board used is K8000, which houses all the micro-controllers.
The sensors used are photo reflective IR sensors. They consist of a phototransistor and an infrared LED. The voltage output is dependent on the amount of infrared radiation falling on the detector. The IR sensors work well if there is no sunlight, and the output is increased by more than ĺ of the maximum. You can cover the IR sensors with an extended roof so that the effect of sunlight is reduced. The head contains numerous sensors like the range finder. The Polaroid transducer system is used which employs a single sensor to transmit and receive echoes. A USB webcam sensor is used which interfaces with the laptop.
The†Vellemen†K3502 parking kit is used as a distance calculator. The distance is preset previously, and after crossing that distance a buzzer is sounded. K8000 can tolerate voltages between 5-20 V DC. The actuators are two motors. Each motor controls one wheel. The chassis is divided into 3 layers. The bottom layer holds the drive system and batteries. The middle layer holds the electronics interface and the top layer is responsible for the laptop and option for expansion.
This machine will surely make your life easier. Written in QBASIC, working on the story is easier. At a reasonable cost, it has made the common manís dream of owning a robot and making it does work for him a reality.