Monday, January 31, 2011

Laser cannon purchased.

It's not this exact model but it looks very similar.

The robot's LEDs usually send light through decorative "fiber optic" tubes that run throughout the torso and arms, but with those removed I can glue a photosensor over one of the LEDs and have it act as a switch to activate the laser without having to open up the robot and do any soldering. The laser is a different story as I'll need to wire the photosensor in place of the button it uses to toggle the beam on and off.

Anyway, it's in the mail, and I'd like to thank a certain Irish supporter for the most recent donation. Doing stuff like this on a slim budget is very difficult and I rely on donations to move the project forward. I still need the mifi and the solar panels, but there's plenty of time to save up for those as it's not exactly sunny out right now and won't be for a few months. Updates might be sparse (as I can only work as fast as I can afford to buy new parts) but keep checking back, I'll update every time there's something worth telling you guys about.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Battery pack arrives!

The extended battery pack (30% more power!) arrived today and I wasted no time installing it:It came with enough of a charge that I was able to test the robot's functions. Worryingly, I could sign into the robot but not make him move or see video from his camera. So I popped the base back open:After unplugging and replugging the motor cables (which I must've inadvertently pulled loose while installing the battery) the motors responded perfectly to commands from the user interface program. However, still no video. The culrpit? A rusted, corroded USB plug that connects the base of the robot to the camera head. I'm soaking it in cleaning solvent now with the hopes that it's salvageable, if not I've heard certain webcams are compatible when plugged in via adapter as the Spykee's camera is basically just a standard QVGA webcam. More updates to come.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Laser cannon?

The Spykee permits remote control of the motors, but also of two LED lit "fiber optic cable" decorations (which I've removed). This leaves two control channels open that can be used by any sort of powered accessory you might want in place of the nonfunctional (and recently removed) arms. I've heard suggestions ranging from grappling hooks to spear guns, miniature shotguns for hunting, flare guns, weapons seem to be a popular choice but I hesitate to put anything on the robot that would get me in trouble. One of the top suggestions by email was a laser, and it seems compact handheld lasers exist that could be mounted perfectly where one arm used to be and tied into the control circuit that used to turn the decorative LEDs on and off. This would permit remote firing of the laser. As it's really too cold and wet out for the laser to set anything on fire I don't expect there's real danger involved, but even so I would probably leave the laser turned off during public sessions and reserve its use for those who donate. This seems like the most reasonable option, no?