The Emergence 'Bots Roll Again

A project log for The Emergence Project

An experiment in group machine intellegence (Or lack thereof...)

Greg DaneauGreg Daneau 09/28/2015 at 03:300 Comments

True Believers! The Emergence Project is back in gear. Our Fearless Leader is a season-ticket holding Chicago Blackhawks fan, and their successful Stanley Cup win left the project a bit scarce of both initiative and disposable income. However, the project is gathering steam once again.

After having so much free time to think, we've made a couple of changes. First off, the operating voltage. When we last heard from the 'bots, we were switching from the original 5v to 3v, to keep everything consistant with the new charging boards and batteries. We're changing back to 5v. It was a nice idea, but two things prompted the change. First, we managed to find a 5v step-up board that could bump the power components' lower voltage to that of the 'bot's nervous system. We didn't initially want to do this because we were worried that the conversion would be inefficient and cost precious power, and more components adds cost and extra points of failure. But, we happened across a new board that wasn't available when we changed things, and claims to do it efficiently without breaking the bank. We'll see if they're telling the truth...

The second change is to the communication system. We've scrapped the IR pulses in favor of FM radio. We've been kicking the idea of going to radio since the projects inception, and it became apparent that it was likely a better system. When the Emergence 'bots were initially concieved, we imagined that they would communicate with each other via sound, sending information chirping like crickets. Radio is actually a bit closer to the initial concept, since it has the ability to go a fair distance, as opposed to infrared, which need line-of-sight contact. Another advantage is that with radio, we can have another reciever listening to the cross-talk, recording an log of exactly who is saying what to who, and when. Lastly, the radio transmitter and reciever aren't all that much more expensive IR components, and they will plug in neatly to the same Rx and Tx pins on the Arduino.

Well, that's the news for now. We'd like to thank all the True Believers out there that have stuck around during all the stop, start, then stop again road the Emergence Project has been on. As for the new True Believers, welcome! Hopefully the road ahead will be a bit less bumpy...