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A project log for The Emergence Project

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

Greg DaneauGreg Daneau 08/04/2014 at 01:540 Comments

HA!!! Finally we get to use the line!

The long awaited light sensing upgrade has been installed! It consists of 6 sensors mounted in pairs in an arc across the front of the 'bot. The three on the top (the ones with the squiggly lines on them) are cadmium sulfur photocells. These are what the 'bots will use to spot promising light sources when they feel the need to recharge themselves via their solar cells. The lower tier sensors are analog infrared detectors. These allow the 'bots to signal and find each other at night. Our bench tests indicate that the two will work when wired in parallel with each other. When there's ample light, the photocells effectively wash out the IR sensors meager signal. However, in the absence of most visible light, the IR detection works it's way through. So, the photocells work during the day, and the IR sensors take over at night. The 'bot doesn't need seperate day/night programming. It just heads for the brightest signal it's sensors can pick out according to the conditions around it. It heads toward bright light during the day to recharge itself, and at night the brightest object in the room will be it's hivemates signaling from whatever watering hole it may have found. Well, that's the theory anyhow. It remains to be seen if we can pull it off...

So, it's going to be a very eventful and exciting week for the 'bots. Johnny seems to be running more consistant than his brother, so he's going to get the software updates first. We'll run a few simple light sensing scripts with him over the next couple days to make sure the hardware works, then he'll be handed over to the programming team so they can work their magic. In the meantime, Frankie will be torn down. His erratic behavior has been a constant headache. But, don't feel bad for him. The most likely cause for his consistant misbehavior is the fact that we've got numerous components and sensors plugged into a temporary breadboard and it's just way too chaotic. So, we're going to commit and start using solder and epoxy instead of hot glue and prayer. As he's being rebuilt, we'll be taking measurements and working on the files that will be used for the final production 'bots. Frankie will become the production prototype. Hopefully we can have him back up and running by the time the programming team has Johnny's code polished. Then we can update Frankie and see if we've worked the inconsistancy out. We'll be taking pictures of each and every step during his reassembly in case you want to play along at home. However, I caution you that we're more than likely going to make mistakes along the way, so if you decide to build your own, you might want to lag a week or two behind...

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