Posts Tagged ‘robot’

Making Your Robot Talk–Custom Voices

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I was recently playing with the Lego Color sensor and decided to experiment with sound files to identify the colors it detected.  I don’t have the NXT 2.0 set (I am assuming it comes with sound files for each color), so I researched the internet for a solution.

I was looking for an application like “voice of sam” (I am dating myself) and found something cooler.  Several sites have voice synthesizers you can demo.  I found the Cepstral site the easiest to use and with the most options.

You basically type in the words you want to hear, select a voice, rate, pitch, and effect and it plays.  This site also lets you save your creation to a local drive.  Cool.  So I typed in the word for a color, selected some options and WOW.  Robot voices!  They even have effects like “Old Robot” and “Dizzy Droid” and “Liquid Love”.  Making the words/voices was so easy.  The hard part is finding the right settings from so many options.

Anyway, once you save your voices to the local drive, use Wav2RSO to convert the voices into NXT sound files.  I think the NXT 2.0 software has this built in.  You can find it here.

Now your robot can say anything you want.

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9735 Robotics Discovery Set

August 6, 2010 Leave a comment

9735-Robotics Discovery Set While visiting the grandparents last weekend, I got a pleasant surprise.  It turns out the neighbor found an old Robotics Discovery Set in his storage and decided to donate it to me.  We were talking about robots over a year ago and somehow it clicked for him when cleaning and the set showed up that I might want it.  How cool is that.

My daughter is almost seven, so this is a good starter set for her to try out.  Ok, I think it is cool too.  After getting things working again (the case was loose and the battery kept loosing connection), I found out Lego implemented a pretty cool behavior-based set of tasks for the SCOUT robot.  You “program” the robot by selecting the desired behavior for the motors, touch sensors, and built-in light sensor.  There are many options, and different combinations yield different emergent behaviors from the robot.

I just played with the bug robot in book one, but you can make the robot move around in patterns, explore a room by bouncing off walls,  find light or dark, and other combinations that are cool.  The robot beeps and blips during the process and flashes indicator lights by the ports for forward, reverse, light sensor triggered, and each touch sensor triggered.  Lego should have carried the indicator lights forward with RCX and NXT.  There is also a light on the front that flashes as well.  I assume is is actually doing that for a reason, but I am not sure.

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Precision Robot Turning – Baby Steps

July 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you ever tried searching for something on the Internet and been left with a feeling that you must be the only one out there who does not know how to do something?  I have!  I decided to pursue precision turning with my robot, but tried to find out how to do it.  It sounds simple… but there was very little information out there to help me understand how to do it.  I wanted to be able to make a robot turn 90 degrees, or any other random angle.

Turns out, that turning a robot (with Math) is not too difficult, but also very complicated at the same time.  I will follow up with the theory later, but wanted to post a working program first.  This code allows you to set an angle, radius, and speed to turn a differential drive robot.

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Joystick Control – Differential Drive

April 7, 2010 Leave a comment

I think I am the last person on the planet to buy a Logitech joystick for use with my Mindstorms NXT robots.  Anyway, I did buy one of these cool devices a few weeks back and finally had some time to play with it.  With a simple RobotC program, you can use a joystick to control your robot.  It was almost too easy.  I did not like the “Tank Drive” samples.  They were difficult to control.  I wrote some code to utilize only one joystick to control movement for the same differential drive robot.

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Follow Lines – Fork in the Road

March 14, 2010 Leave a comment

**Repost from an article I posted on Mindsensors forums last year.

People have asked me to provide more information about my video on the Mindsensors site about testing the Line Leader sensor. How can the robot make a choice at a fork in the road (line)?
My Video:
First, let’s expand on the problem. I found an interesting video a while back on for a Robocup Jr – Rescue competition that outlined some fairly complex rules for following a line to a destination. In short, there are 10+ line configurations that a robot must be able to navigate in order to complete the mission. There is much more to this mission, but the focus here is on following the lines…
Robocup Jr Video:

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Follow a Line – Line Following Basics

August 31, 2009 1 comment


There are many ways (and sensors) available that can allow a robot to follow a line. I have experimented a few that are of interest.

  • Single Light Sensor
  • Two Light Sensors
  • Mindsensors LineLeader Sensor (Intelligent array of 8 light sensors in one I2C package)

In this article I review a couple of standard ways of staying on track, and then review the new Mindsensors – Line Leader sensor.  I was part of a beta-testing group for this great sensor.

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Puckbot – Collector Robot Post-Mortem

July 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Building and programming the Puckbot was a fascinating project.  I have attempted to build similar robots a few times over the past couple of years,  but I never really devoted the time toward creating a stable, reliable behavior-based framework first.  Earlier frameworks utilized different techniques that were weak in execution, difficult to debug, and unpredictable.  With my latest venture using RobotC, I spent some real time working on the framework.  The framework was the least of my worries on this robot.  It functioned as designed and is easy to add behaviors to, easy (easier) to debug, and certainly robust enough to create viable autonomous robots.

Implementing the collector robot with Lego Mindstorms NXT and my RobotC behavior-based framework was completely rewarding.  I still have to laugh a little when I watching the robot move around the arena, collecting pucks and delivering the successfully to the light.  Of course, I thought out the sensors and behaviors, of course there is a ton of information and study on the collector in my books, but to see it actually do the job for real was special.  I have to admit, I was a little unsure if I could pull it off.  There are a lot of behaviors working in concert, all with their own set of parameters to fiddle with, and so many things that could have gone wrong; They had in the past…

Wow!  Watching the robot in figure out what to do, and doing it by its self, is what it is all about. 

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