I’ve been a little bit anxious about the upcoming US holiday, Thanksgiving, because it means that Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping is around the corner and it represents a perfect opportunity to buy some new Robot parts for ROVer… but it also means that I have to actually sit down and figure out what, exactly, I want to buy…
It’s both a joy and a stressful event as I don’t think that I’ve ever got any of my previous orders correct… meaning that I either always have forgotten to purchase something that I end-up needing or I purchase something that never gets used. On top of all that, except for the replacement Arduino MEGA ADK board that I had to buy after frying it, this is the first order since the ROVer-revival project started.
I didn’t upload a video yesterday… the reason… all the bugs and related challenges that surfaced as a result of trying to do the “contextual”-integration of the Apple TV Remote.
It’s not the remote itself, but the way in which I want to have it work requires a lot more integration between ROVer’s circuitry and logic and the web server. Fundamentally, for the Apple TV remote to be useful, it needs to report back to the web server, in the cloud, but that’s only the half of it – we also need ROVer to keep telling the same server/cloud what he’s up to at any given moment.
I had thought that the status of the individual commands would be enough (i.e. pending, fetched and executed), but no such luck. When ROVer marks a command as executed, he really means that he’s execut-ING… and that command may still be in process… such as in the case of a longer drive. So, we needed a way to know whether ROVer is, in-fact, in standby or wether he’s still up to something.
This is cool… I know, this is mostly as a backup, emergency, off-wifi, off-cellular, solution that I need for ROVer prior to testing him around outside, but it’s just fun too… we’ve got the remote from the Apple TV networked into ROVer’s logic code now and he’s reporting what he receives from the remote all the way back up to the web server in the cloud from UNO to which the IR receiver is connected.
Something fun too, we taught ROVer some manners. Rather than just saying “Hello”, he now recognizes the time of day and says Good Morning, afternoon and evening as is appropriate. This isn’t very useful at the moment and just some fun, but later on this may be useful in creating a context for other commands – such as putting away the solar array after a certain time of day.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! The suggestion for how to mount the solar panels and ROVer’s Android tablet “brain” is awesome!
I’m still open to further suggestions that either build on this concept or something completely different, but I’m really excited about this solution – it’s not only simple (at least in theory), but it’s so beautiful in its execution and how it leverages ROVer’s existing chassis design.
Also… ROVer completes his first, proportional, 90° turn!
1) the prospect of sharing what I’ve built (and continue to build) for ROVer with the broader robotics and Maker community who want to do something similar (or completely different), and
2) the possibilities that result from all the data that we’re collecting on what ROVer is experiencing via his sensors. The more he reports back to us, the more options it gives us for what he can do NEXT!
In today’s episode I touch on both of these points.