Driving Farrusco @ CoworkLX @ LX Factory ‘open day’

Since the first SWARS experience, I knew this could go A LOT further, but having Farrusco on a remote terrace where you could only have access by climbing an outside ladder.. I must confess, I never thought of such a thing, until… my friend Fernando Mendes (Cowork_LX) came to me with this crazy idea!

Driving Farrusco

I loved the challenge, and wanted since the first moment to create a cool and easy to use physical interface and it came out a nice piece IMHO.

Driving Farrusco

Then Farrusco with the wireless cam already built in for the first “Driving Farrusco” experience, I used two packs of batteries to enhance the play time (one battery pack is missing in the photo). This small wireless camera needs a lot of juice, and a little 9v batteries doesn’t feed it for to long, besides that it gives a very weak transmission with lots of interference, but with this 9.6v racing pack, it worked out really good!

Driving Farrusco

And finally the video:

Some bits around the controller:

At the beginning I wanted to have four joysticks, one for each motor, one for pan and the other for tilt the camera.

Driving Farrusco

Driving Farrusco

Driving Farrusco

Driving Farrusco\

Driving Farrusco

It ended a bit complicated to operate and a learning curve was needed to get used to it, because this was going to manipulated by many people it needed to be simple and fast to learn.

Driving Farrusco

[ FOTO MISSING showing the end result with two joysticks, a motoruino only with the necessary components and the xbee mount ]

Driving Farrusco

Driving Farrusco

ICU . I See You

ICU is a sub-project of the SWARS (see what a robot sees) project.

This time I not just wanted to see what a robot sees, but I also wanted to give the robot the ability to understand that there is a person in the room, and stare at the person.

To detect faces I used the OPENCV library for Processing, wich turns out to be very fun to work with and is very sensitive to human faces.. and sometimes it detect faces where there aren’t any.. maybe it is a ghost face detector algorythm!!

I didn’t have time to work with the four motors, I am only working with the two servo motors on the top. Next step will be to apply inverse kinematics and have a better level of interactivity.

Unfortunately I had to pick the computer that was being used in this installation, I will need it in the next weeks, but this bot will be available to the public very soon I promise!!

This is the code I am using if someone wants to look at it, you will need to have the MegaServo library installed for the Arduino sketch, and the OPENCV lib for the Processing sketch.

SWARS – See What a Robot Sees

This project is a collection of experiences related to seeing and percieving the world from the point of view of robotic creatures. Robots will send sensor data to the computer and will generate visual and audio landscapes in real time.

The development started during the Audiencia Zero residency in O Espaço do Tempo in Montemor-o-Novo, and will continue until the final exhibition wich will be in July.

This is a colaborative project where many friends are bringing together their skills, until now we have collaborated with:
– Pedro Ângelo with Serial Communication;
Rui Madeira with computer vision technics and advanced maths;
Sérgio Ferreira is a media and interaction guru, always providing precious help and advice;
– Daniel Gomes is working on a MAXMSP interactive sound;
Nuno Morgadinho is developing an online application to remotely control robots.
– André Almeida is a computational guru and a great technology and interaction advisor.

More to come ;)

Sub-projects list:

ICU – I See You

This is the first iteration of this project, and just a quick test for something greater.. hope to have time for it in the future.

Components list:
Motoruino (Arduino compatible board) up and running;
– Wireless camera and video converter sponsored by O Espaço do Tempo;
– Basic pan/tilt system built with PVC;
– GUI written in Processing enabling robot remote control, gives vision feedback and servos orientation.