This recipe steps you through how to adapt your NI Robotics Starter Kit into a remotely-operated (teleoperable) robot.
90% of the actions we take while driving our cars are from sight (1), so it would make sense that a camera on a robot would be a good step towards programming autonomy for the robot. The basic steps include: attaching an IP ethernet-based camera to the starter kit, and mounting a wireless router. Depending on what router you get, you may be able to configure a more advanced network configuration.
1a. Booher, H. R., "Effects of visual and auditory impairment in driving performance," Human Factors, 1978, 20, pp. 307-320
1b. Bryan, W.E., "Research in vision and traffic safety," Journal of the American Optometric Association, 1957, 29, pp. 169-172
1c. The actual value of 90% is disputed among researchers. (Castro, C., Human Factors of Visual and Cognitive Performance in Driving, 2009)
List any hardware and software components used to build your robot
|Part Description||Vendor||Model Name/Number|
NI Robotics Starter Kit (includes:
Mobile Platform, Sensors and FPGA_Real-Time Processing Targets)
|IR Distance Sensor||Sharp||GP2D12|
|5V Regulator||Radio Shack|
|DC Coaxial Plug|
Metric and English Allen wrench set
Small adjustable wrench or a pair of pliers
Wire cutters and strippers
CAT-5 cable (Ethernet cable), crimps, and crimp tool
Screws for mounting the WiFi router (I used two 8-32 's )
IR distance sensor (I used a Sharp GP2D12, which has drivers that come with LabVIEW Robotics)
DC Coaxial Plug for the router and camera, or just cut off their power supplies
5V regulator or a regulator at the voltage of your camera / router
DD-WRT for my particular router: http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index
Both the camera and router are usually powered from a DC power supply that you plug in to the wall. The robot's battery will source the power in this case. Be sure to check the electrical specifications of your router and camera before continuing. The router used here runs on 12V and the camera uses 5V.
And that's it for power! Afterwards, the insides of your bot should look something like this
Now just put the bot back together. Basically, just put the two halves back together and plug in the encoder feedback cables.
If you want to have easier access to the battery and potentially change it out, before you put the bot back together, unscrew the plastic plate the battery is attached to and flip it over. You may also want to cut the zip-ties. To make the battery a little more secure when mounted upside down, you can buy some "hook and loop" (Velcro) material to make straps that go through the zip-tie slots in the plastic plate. Use the straps to repeatably secure the battery to the plastic plate.
The router used was an Asus RT-G32 so that DD-WRT would install (see blog entry for why this is useful). It was a little bit of a pain to get DD-WRT on this particular router compared to some others (click here for instructions for the RT-G32). There are plenty of other routers out there that support DD-WRT (like the Netgear WNDR3300). Just check the website at: http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/support/router-database
NI Robotics Technical Blog: http://decibel.ni.com/content/blogs/MechRobotics
To download VIs to control the teleoperated robot, see: How to Convert Starter Kit into Teleop,
For information on advanced networking, see: Teleoperate Starter Kit from 20 Floors Away,
To make the robot autonomous, see; Starter Kit Obstacle Avoidance Via Vision Processing