“The Automaton” is my take on how to do a low budget robot controller. Tech specs 6 - 45V input voltage range. Support for up to 32 servos with a maximum total current draw of 6A at 5V. 24Hz to 1526Hz PWM controller with 12 bit resolution. 240MHz MCU with WiFi and Bluetooth. 9DOF sensor fusion IMU that outputs absolute orientation angle at 100Hz. FTDI programming header. Expansion header with 14 available GPIO pins.
During a family trip to Japan last easter, I was fortunate enough to have a couple of hours to myself in the tech mecca of Tokyo, namely the Akihabara district. My two hour “geek pilgrimage” involved plans for visiting four of the more iconic shops in Akihabara. These were Mak Japan, G-Front, Tsukomo Robot Kingdom and Vstone Robot Center. After having spent quite some time looking at maps and web sites, I was finally able to locate the entrance of the MAK Japan shop.
Inspired by the last local robot tournamet at Omega, the Norwegian initiative Lær Kidsa Koding and a few discussions at my local hackerspace (Hackhem) I decided to revisit the BBC Micro:bit platform to see if it would be suitable as a mini sumo controller. The idea was that it would be really cool to attempt a design of an entry level mini sumo platform, that used commonly available parts, didn’t cost an arm and a leg, was easy to build and easy to program.
The short version Mostly Harmless won the obstacle course challenge and decimated the targets in the arena, but got its ass thoroughly whooped by the fearsome drum spinning Ascend robot in the finals. To the audience’s disappointment, the whooping didn’t take too long. The robot was on its back - dead in the water after just a few seconds. However… Robot fighting is a spectator sport and the audience demanded more carnage.
How much of a punch can a 2kg robot throw ? And how much sustained beating can a 2kg robot tolerate and still remain operational ? The answers to these questions will become clear on Nov 9th at the next local robot wars competition, hosted by Omega Workshop in Trondheim. The Inspiration For some reason, I have managed to miss out on all previous tournaments, but this spring I was persuaded to join as a referee (I later discovered that the tournament date conflicted with the date for a local whiskey festival - hence an acute shortage of available referees).