New Robot

As promised we have constructed a new robot that probably will be the one, or at least very similar to the final product. It is based on the Explorer robot from Nxtprograms.

Our requirements for the physical units was that it has to be able to rotate around its own axis (a requirement for the leJOS navigation classes) and that the IR sensor has to have a 360 degree field of view. A bonus with this model compared to others we have considered is that the IR sensor rotates directly on a motor. In earlier versions we had to convert between the rotation of the motor and the sensor, something we don't have to worry about anymore.

Aside from changing the sensor on top to our IR sensor, we have added a compass sensor and fitted the Ultrasonic sensor in front instead. We also slightly modified the top motor and sensor so that its rotational axis is between the wheels, something that will facilitate calculating the position of obstacles.

Today we have also done several tests to determine how accurate the navigation classes are, and the results are somewhat disappointing. For some reason navigation with the help of the compass sensor is actually less accurate than a simple tacho navigator that only uses the rotation of the wheels to navigate. Also, bugs with both classes severely limits the amount of methods we can use and still maintain a reasonable accuracy. For now we have settled on using Forward(), Backward() and Rotate(), which is accurate enough for our needs. Hopefully we (or leJOS, which is still in beta after all) will solve some of the problems and we won't limited to these forever.

/Josef and Peter

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