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PivotPoint: A line follower 
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
I semi-started thinking about the line follower again. I am looking at 3 built bots, and a Unimog, and I don't want to tear any of them apart quite yet, and I don't have enough pieces for another bot until I do. So, I started thinking software.

Actually I am specifically thinking, line following maze solver. I made a simulator in C#, and as long as I stay smart about it, the robot code should port easily to RobotC when I get around to building something.

Image

I guess my hardware goal should be an as small as possible but geared way up differential drive. I am also planning on using the Mindstorm LineLeader - but I started thinking, why not use 2? Would not that avoid the need to 'move an inch' to figure out what an intersection really is? Has anyone tried it? Any guidance on using 2 LineLeaders on the same Brick?

I am waiting to order a couple of the new Gluide thingies when they are available, and will probably pick up a second LineLeader then. NxtGeneration: re LEGO Budget, I suggest you get into banking, I wish I had :)

Mike aka Spiked3

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Mon May 28, 2012 8:27 pm
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
Posting this on my new laptop! :o I finally got a NEW computer! :D Now I don't have to contend with my previously used decade-old winXP dinosaur....

I wish I had enough money for the Unimog. I followed every single thing that was discovered about it before it was released.

Anyway, your program looks interesting. Any chance of releasing the code? I'm learning C# and I'd like to take a look at it. I once built a maze solver with LEGO. It followed the line pretty poorly, but when it did it solved the maze correctly. I'm not sure you should gear it up. I was having trouble with even direct drive from the NXT motors on mine. The wheels kept slipping and it was never accurate.

Regarding the GlideWheels (that's what you meant, right?), if you contact MindSensors they'll probably send you a couple.

I have a lineleader, but haven't really used it much yet. I think using two would be not much harder than using one.

I hope to not really need a job by the time I'm an adult. My dream is becoming the next Still Gobs (Steve Jobs + Bill Gates) I hope to have millions by the time I'm 20. Wishful thinking (maybe).

EDIT: A small part was removed to comply with the MindSensors secrecy clause.

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Last edited by NeXT-Generation on Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon May 28, 2012 9:58 pm
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
You have seen this haven't you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLwICJKV4dw

I think tons of speed is important :) Im not sure how much of it I can get out of an Nxt but I might consider adding a solid rocket engine or two before its over.

I'd be happy to post the code. But be warned, it probably will take many things to get it to run for you (but fine for just looking);
    Its not a big project, but its not a small one either.
    I have been running Windows 8 consumer preview & visual studio 2012 beta exclusively for a while now. So there is a dependency on .Net 4.5. you can probably change things back to .Net 4, as I think that is available to everyone. I dont think you can go back to 3.5 the way I'm using some threading stuff. nothing complicated I just used the 'latest' iteration of it.
    The code editor is not functional. If you wanted to run with it just to see, it uses Avalon edit, which is part of sharp-develop. So you either need to install sharp-develop (which isnt a bad idea anyhow) or delete the RobotCodeEditor stuff and any references to it, to see the maze by itself work.

I think that would get it runnable on another machine.

In another week or so I will probably start some hardware design, and when I do I am sure this program will evolve. If I ever get something semi-finished I will release a more complete package, with source and LDD file, that would be all contained.

I just quickly zipped this up and left some of the binary stuff with it, just in case it might run without the need to recompile.
(oops can't attach it here, so ill put it on my server)
http://www.spiked3.com/maze1.zip

Oh, then there is the how to run it if you get that far;
load the maze-example-no-loops.gif file
click the set start button
click on the maze where to start
click button1 to do a left favored map, button 3 for right
when either completes, click button 2 to do a speed run

heh, good luck :)

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Mon May 28, 2012 11:32 pm
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
I cleaned the zip up a bit. It now is .Net 4.0 - so it should run anywhere .net 4 is installed.
I removed the code editor - and inserted a blank maze editor page to be done later, So that removes that dependency.
The files in the bin/release directory should run as is (on a .Net 4 system) and the project should compile from earlier visual studios as well.

The project is in no way considered finished code - there are plenty of 'ideas in progress'

http://www.spiked3.com/?p=319

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Tue May 29, 2012 3:03 pm
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
I won't be able to look at the code till after BrickWorld. I've got Windows 8 running under a virtual machine, but I can't find the 2012 visual studio. Where did you get it? Also, after using Windows 8, would you suggest it over Windows 7? Now that I have a computer that actually runs, I can start doing more coding and experimenting. My old computer was a Windows XP dinosaur that only had 1G (even when idling it usually only had about half a gig of RAM available) of RAM and a horrible processor. The only thing that made it usable was the video card. If it didn't have that, I don't know how I would've been able to use it at all.

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Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:24 pm
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
a newer visual studio (but still pre-release) was put out yesterday, http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/11/en-us

I have not had any problems with it, other than a bit unoptimized (read slow) in a few areas that would be expected in a pre-release version. Nothing serious. Windows 8 is another story. I like it, but I like it for its goal more so than the execution. the execution isnt bad, you just have to accept this is NOT really windows 8. This is windows 7.1 with the new tablet OS, combined in a sometimes cumbersome manner. One thing I do not like, is that Microsoft, now the market has clearly opened up and they can not be considered a monopoly any more, are pursuing more 'lock in' strategies, like Apple does. So unless you are a hotmail, Internet explorer kind of person, the apps are kinda not as useful as they could have been. But since I run 90% others stuff, it doesnt matter other than not using the latest versions of those apps, like calendar, mail, messenger etc. I thought they worked some in the previous preview, but I have not been able to get them to work in the current, although I may have just missed something.
I do notice it being a tiny bit faster, boot is hugely faster, and I believe on the next gen of hardware it is supposed to be almost instant.

update: I forgot to remind, that the new version of visual studio will have an express version, but it will only be able to write tablet style (metro) apps. If you wish to continue to write windows apps for free, keep visual studio express 2010 around. The version pointed to above of visual studio is a time limited preview of the full product, not the express version.

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Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:02 pm
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
I installed Windows 8 RP yesterday and am very happy with it. Everything works, including ROBOTC, NXT-G and the LEGO WeDo software.
I haven't installed VS20XX yet, still trying to decide whether to stick with 2010 or move to 2012. Not worried about the Express stuff, since I have an MSDN subscription, so I can pretty much grab whatever I need.
I've done some development with the Kinect in the past and I think I might want to pick that up again soon :)

- Xander

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Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:18 am
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
I also just got it installed (dual boot, of course), but haven't really used it enough to form much of an opinion. To me (so far) the tablet interface is kind of confusing, but when I get used to the keyboard shortcuts then I'll probably think differently.

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"Don't they teach recreational mathematics anymore?" - The Tenth Doctor
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Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:06 am
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
NeXT-Generation wrote:
I also just got it installed (dual boot, of course), but haven't really used it enough to form much of an opinion. To me (so far) the tablet interface is kind of confusing, but when I get used to the keyboard shortcuts then I'll probably think differently.


Don't expect many 'keyboard' shortcuts for a tablet (or its OS) :) Actually they are pretty much the same as windows 7. One mouse shortcut I like is lower left, right click for a windows programs menu thing. The other is when you are on the 'start' screen, just start typing something you are looking for, it brings up the search. You can switch between windows 7.1, err desktop, and the the start screen with the windows key at any time.

The other thing is the 'start' screen itself. A lot of people initially want the 'start' button back. But as soon as you embrace the fact that now you have a whole screen instead of just a button, you start to like it. well i did anyhow.

Anyone try or have any luck on my maze thingy?

PS: Xander the ONLY thing I have found so far not to work in windows 8 is some high end (pro) audio stuff. at this point in retired life, I don't depend on it for $, but if you do and use cubase/protools etc, you might not want to switch to Windows 8 quite yet.

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Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:35 am
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
This is what my "start" looks like now. Pretty nice, I think.

Attachment:
start-windows8.png
start-windows8.png [ 65.24 KiB | Viewed 7135 times ]


I still need a good picture editor, I used paint for this, haha.

- Xander

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Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:14 am
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
Ahh, too different, too different! It Burns! I don't know if I'll be getting windows 8 (I reluctantly switched from XP to 7 recently). Xander, GIMP serves most of my needs. How's the backwards compatibility on 8?

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Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:42 am
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
The only issue I had so far is Skype. It consumes a lot of CPU on Win8. Everything else works like a charm.

I used to use GIMP years ago but wasn't a big fan of all the 100s of little windows. I hear this has been fixed in the latest version though.

- Xander

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Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:50 am
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
I built a bot. I did not get too carried away on the gearing. a medium to small wide gear. Ok, so the lineLeader demo program spins it at about 200 RPM. maybe I'm still a little over geared :| anyway, I think I have the speed I wanted (200 rpm spin is at 40% power), and in a compact size, less than 6" square. I guess the next step is to try and nail down the PID values a little better. Changing the P worked as expected sometimes, but not consistently. Any tricks to that? As I understand it, it is 2 values the x/y values. I set it 25/50, about 1/2 of what it was (defaults) and it got better, then I set it to 24/50 and it went crazy again :| I dont quite follow that yet.

ps: I guess this could/should be moved to robotc now that it is what im doing.

pss: woa, sad side note; i installed directx9 a little earlier for a game, and now LDD is totally wiped out. I tried to restore to before directx9 and it failed :( I know xander, virtual machine :(

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Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:58 am
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
NeXT-Generation wrote:
I also just got it installed (dual boot, of course), but haven't really used it enough to form much of an opinion. To me (so far) the tablet interface is kind of confusing, but when I get used to the keyboard shortcuts then I'll probably think differently.


long time followup;

just read this article today; http://www.hanselman.com/blog/Windows8P ... eItIs.aspx

A really good explanation.

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Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:39 pm
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Post Re: PivotPoint: A line follower
Spiked3 wrote:
NeXT-Generation wrote:
I also just got it installed (dual boot, of course), but haven't really used it enough to form much of an opinion. To me (so far) the tablet interface is kind of confusing, but when I get used to the keyboard shortcuts then I'll probably think differently.


long time followup;

just read this article today; http://www.hanselman.com/blog/Windows8P ... eItIs.aspx

A really good explanation.
Interesting! Thanks for the link. Some of the things in it don't work with the preview version. Now, if only I had some sticky notes...

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A.K.A. inxt-generation
Self-proclaimed genius, and future world dominator.
My Brickshelf Folder
"Don't they teach recreational mathematics anymore?" - The Tenth Doctor
Bow down to Nikola Tesla, King of the Geek Gods.


Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:25 am
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