Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Short Robot Video

In my last post, I talked about the instrument driver for a Hokuyo LIDAR that I've been working with. The new driver that supports more models (and supports them all better) will be posted to IDNet in the next week or two.

I thought I'd show you how I was actually using the LIDAR. Meet NIcholas, a robot I've been working with for the last few weeks...

NIcholas is based on a radio-controlled car platform, but is controlled entirely by the on-board single-board RIO computer running LabVIEW Real-Time and LabVIEW FPGA.

Single-board RIO is an OEM-able circuit board that contains both LabVIEW Real-time and LabVIEW FPGA targets. It's similar in functionality to the compactRIO platform. I'm using the Real-time part for processing the LIDAR data, and the FPGA for controlling the motors and steering.

I didn't build NIcholas myself; he was built by an intern last summer. As a research project, I've taken him under my wing for a while to learn more about LabVIEW on the RIO platform, and a little bit about robotics.

NIcholas doesn't have much of a mission, yet. He just drives around autonomously and tries to avoid obstacles. The LIDAR is used to detect obstacles and find the clearest path to take.

Here's a short video showing NIcholas in action...

For more information on robotics with LabVIEW, see ni.com/robotics.

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