|Lab 3: Braitenberg Vehicles
Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before your demo time.
This first robotic lab is intended to provide an introduction to your lab kits. The hope is that this task will be easy enough to serve as a good starting point, yet challenging enough to expose some of the common problems encountered in robotics.
In his book, Vehicles, Braitenberg suggests that machines (robotic or biological) can exhibit increasingly complicated behaviors as a result of neural connections between sensory organs and actuators. He goes on to discuss how these behaviors may be implemented using light sensors, and motors. (see illustration) We thought this would be a good theme for the first Lego lab assignment.
P. J. McKerrow, Introduction to Robotics, pp 1-49.
Programming, digital and analog input/output control.
Build a robot (creature) that chases light. See powerpoint presentation for more information.
Successful completion of this challenge will require your robot to "home in" on a light source to reach a goal area. The goal area is defined as the set of all points in the working plane within 6" of the light source. The robot's initial position and orientation with respect to the source will be unknown, but will not be greater than 24" away, and the initial heading will diverge no greater than 45 degrees from the optimal path to the source. (see diagram) The task will be considered achieved when any part of the robot crosses into the goal area and stops there (you will have the option to switch off the light source). In other words, the robot only needs to be touching the goal area (as opposed to contained in), but must be able to stop there.
Acknowledgments: picture and quotation from:
Braitenberg, V. 1984. Vehicles, Experiments in Synthetic Psychology
London, Cambridge: The MIT Press