Introduction to Mobile Robot Sensor Systems

Sensors are essential parts of autonomous mobile robots, without such devices it could not gather information about the environment in which it activates and navigation would not be possible. These days a wide range of sensors is available, each of them with their own unique capabilities and designations, however information received from them can be in many cases inconsistent or even conflicting. In this article various categories of sensors are presented and we try to analyze and determine the advantages and shortcomings for each of them.

Generally speaking, the following assumptions can be made about all categories of sensors:

  • Any sensor is affected by noise;
  • Any sensor provides incomplete information about the environment it observes;
  • No sensor can be completely numerically modeled.
Mobile robot equipped with various sensor types

Figure 1 - Mobile robot equipped with various sensor types

In the numerical model of a sensor a modelling of the noise affecting it while performing certain operations should also be included. A sensor is considered unstable if for small variations of the observed parameter the output generated is very different between measurements.
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How Amarino Works – Controlling a Robot with an Android Smartphone

Methods to control a robot increased in number along with the development of mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. Standard methods use a joystick, a remote control or mainly a computer. High processing power of mobile devices with Android opened up new ways through which a robot can be controlled. Between such a device and a robot, various programs or components exist and are designed to create a link between them. Amarino is a toolkit used to open communication channels via Bluetooth between a mobile device and an Arduino microcontroller. Data messages are sent in both directions between for instance a phone and the Arduino MCU. In brief, this application makes the connection between Android and the Arduino libraries.

Amarino_control app - sensor graph

Before starting any project – Installing Amarino

The Amarino control application for Android can be downloaded for free. The application was created to have quick access to connections, to monitor input and output data and to create data sets which will be sent to the Arduino. These all can be made in an easy way through the available graphical interface. Access to sensors available on the mobile platform is done through Amarino and, according to project requirements, various information can be accessed, like battery level, time tick, test event or if you receive SMS messages.

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Complete List of Agricultural Robots

Robots used in agriculture are no longer a novelty, they are a necessity. Using intelligent machines leads to reduced production costs, reduce monotony of farmers and increased productivity. In recent years great investments were made to develop intelligent robots that require little human input during operation. These machines are designed to replace humans in heavy works on the field or in tasks that require repetitive actions. Almost all areas of agriculture are covered by robots.
From autonomous tractors and to a system that sorts potatoes, robots are able to become intelligent machines that can move and perform tasks in the right place at the right time.

01. Autonomous robot tractor

In Belgium a team of researchers from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) and Flanders’ Mechatronics Technology Centre (FMTC) have created a robot tractor that can make a wide range of maneuvers and is very accurate. A complete and accurate operation is obtained thanks to the multitude of sensors integrated into the tractor, a GPS system for positioning and a powerful computer to process information. This heavy machinery has a very small tolerance, in the range of centimeters. Continue reading (…)

Most Advanced Robotics Simulation Software Overview

Creating a complete virtual model of a robot or system by simulating components and control programs can significantly impact the general efficiency of a project. Depending on the level of detail and accuracy of the simulation environment there are various areas which can be analyzed, all of which affect the development life cycle to a certain extent and of course cost.

Benefits of simulation

  • Reduce costs involved in robot production;
  • Diagnose source code that controls a particular resource or a mix of resources;
  • Simulate various alternatives without involving physical costs;
  • Robot or components can be tested before implementation;
  • Simulation can be done in stages, beneficial for complex projects;
  • Demonstration of a system to determine if is viable or not;
  • Compatibility with a wide range of programming languages;
  • Shorter delivery times.

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