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Robot Programming: A Guide to Controlling Autonomous Robots

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Robot Programming: A Guide to Controlling Autonomous Robots

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  • Copyright 2016
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 400
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-417665-0
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-417665-9


Start programming robots NOW!


Learn hands-on, through easy examples, visuals, and code


This is a unique introduction to programming robots to execute tasks autonomously. Drawing on years of experience in artificial intelligence and robot programming, Cameron and Tracey Hughes introduce the reader to basic concepts of programming robots to execute tasks without the use of remote controls.


Robot Programming: A Guide to Controlling Autonomous Robots takes the reader on an adventure through the eyes of Midamba, a lad who has been stranded on a desert island and must find a way to program robots to help him escape. In this guide, you are presented with practical approaches and techniques to program robot sensors, motors, and translate your ideas into tasks a robot can execute autonomously. These techniques can be used on today’s leading robot microcontrollers (ARM9 and ARM7) and robot platforms (including the wildly popular low-cost Arduino platforms, LEGO® Mindstorms EV3, NXT, and Wowee RS Media Robot) for your hardware/Maker/DIY projects. Along the way the reader will learn how to:

  • Program robot sensors and motors
  • Program a robot arm to perform a task
  • Describe the robot’s tasks and environments in a way that a robot can process using robot S.T.O.R.I.E.S.
  • Develop a R.S.V.P. (Robot Scenario Visual Planning) used for designing the robot’s tasks in an environment
  • Program a robot to deal with the “unexpected” using robot S.P.A.C.E.S.
  • Program robots safely using S.A.R.A.A. (Safe Autonomous Robot Application Architecture) Approach
  • Program robots using Arduino C/C++ and Java languages
  • Use robot programming techniques with LEGO® Mindstorms EV3, Arduino, and other ARM7 and ARM9-based robots.



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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

    Robot Programming Boot Camp 2

    Ready, Set, Go! No Wires or Strings Attached 2

    Boot Camp Fundamentals 3

    Core Robot Programming Skills Introduced in This Book 4

        BURT–Basic Universal Robot Translator 4

        BRON–Bluetooth Robot Oriented Network 6

    Assumptions About the Reader’s Robot(s) 6

    How Midamba Learned to Program a Robot 7

1    What Is a Robot Anyway? 9

    The Seven Criteria of Defining a Robot 10

        Criterion #1: Sensing the Environment 11

        Criterion #2: Programmable Actions and Behavior 11

        Criterion #3: Change, Interact with, or Operate on Environment 11

        Criterion #4: Power Source Required 11

        Criterion #5: A Language Suitable for Representing Instructions and Data 12

        Criterion #6: Autonomy Without External Intervention 12

        Criterion #7: A Nonliving Machine 13

        Robot Categories 13

        What Is a Sensor? 16

        What Is an Actuator? 17

        What Is an End-Effector? 18

        What Is a Controller? 19

        What Scenario Is the Robot In? 23

    Giving the Robot Instructions 25

        Every Robot Has a Language 25

        Meeting the Robot’s Language Halfway 27

        How Is the Robot Scenario Represented in Visual Programming Environments? 30

        Midamba’s Predicament 30

        What’s Ahead? 32

2    Robot Vocabularies 33

    Why the Additional Effort? 34

    Identify the Actions 38

    The Autonomous Robot’s ROLL Model 39

        Robot Capabilities 41

        Robot Roles in Scenarios and Situations 42

        What’s Ahead? 44

3    RSVP: Robot Scenario Visual Planning 47

    Mapping the Scenario 48

        Creating a Floorplan 49

        The Robot’s World 52

        RSVP READ SET 53

    Pseudocode and Flowcharting RSVP 56

        Flow of Control and Control Structures 60

        Subroutines 64

    Statecharts for Robots and Objects 66

        Developing a Statechart 68

        What’s Ahead? 72

4    Checking the Actual Capabilities of Your Robot 73

    The Reality Check for the Microcontroller 76

    Sensor Reality Check 79

        Determine Your Robot’s Sensor Limitations 81

    Actuators End-Effectors Reality Check 84

    REQUIRE Robot Effectiveness 87

        What’s Ahead? 89

5    A Close Look at Sensors 91

    What Do Sensors Sense? 92

        Analog and Digital Sensors 95

        Reading Analog and Digital Signals 97

        The Output of a Sensor 99

        Where Readings Are Stored 100

        Active and Passive Sensors 101

        Sensor Interfacing with Microcontrollers 103

        Attributes of Sensors 107

        Range and Resolution 108

        Precision and Accuracy 108

        Linearity 109

        Sensor Calibration 110

        Problems with Sensors 111

        End User Calibration Process 112

        Calibration Methods 112

        What’s Ahead? 114

6    Programming the Robot’s Sensors 115

    Using the Color Sensor 116

        Color Sensor Modes 118

        Detection Range 119

        Lighting in the Robot’s Environment 119

        Calibrating the Color Sensor 119

        Programming the Color Sensor 120

    Digital Cameras Used to Detect and Track Color Objects 124

    Tracking Colored Objects with RS Media 124

    Tracking Colored Objects with the Pixy Vision Sensor 128

        Training Pixy to Detect Objects 129

        Programming the Pixy 130

        A Closer Look at the Attributes 134

    Ultrasonic Sensor 135

        Ultrasonic Sensor Limitations and Accuracy 135

        Modes of the Ultrasonic Sensor 139

        Sample Readings 140

        Data Types for Sensor Reading 141

        Calibration of the Ultrasonic Sensor 141

        Programming the Ultrasonic Sensor 143

    Compass Sensor Calculates Robot’s Heading 153

        Programming the Compass 154

        What’s Ahead? 157

7    Programming Motors and Servos 159

    Actuators Are Output Transducers 159

        Motor Characteristics 160

        Voltage 160

        Current 161

        Speed 161

        Torque 161

        Resistance 161

    Different Types of DC Motors 161

        Direct Current (DC) Motors 162

        Speed and Torque 165

        Motors with Gears 167

    Motor Configurations: Direct and Indirect Drivetrains 177

    Terrain Challenge for Indoor and Outdoor Robots 178

        Dealing with Terrain Challenges 179

        Torque Challenge for Robot Arm and End-Effectors 182

        Calculating Torque and Speed Requirements 182

        Motors and REQUIRE 183

    Programming the Robot to Move 184

        One Motor, Two, Three, More? 185

        Making the Moves 186

        Programming the Moves 186

        Programming Motors to Travel to a Location 191

        Programming Motors Using Arduino 198

    Robotic Arms and End-Effectors 200

        Robot Arms of Different Types 201

        Torque of the Robot Arm 203

        Different Types of End-Effectors 205

        Programming the Robot Arm 208

        Calculating Kinematics 212

        What’s Ahead? 216

8    Getting Started with Autonomy: Building Your Robot’s Softbot Counterpart 219

    Softbots: A First Look 222

        Parts Section 224

        The Actions Section 224

        The Tasks Section 224

        The Scenarios/Situations Section 224

    The Robot’s ROLL Model and Softbot Frame 225

        BURT Translates Softbots Frames into Classes 227

        Our First Pass at Autonomous Robot Program Designs 239

        What’s Ahead? 240

9    Robot SPACES 241

    A Robot Needs Its SPACES 242

        The Extended Robot Scenario 242

        The REQUIRE Checklist 245

        What Happens If Pre/Postconditions Are Not Met? 248

        What Action Choices Do I Have If Pre/Postconditions Are Not Met? 248

    A Closer Look at Robot Initialization Postconditions 249

        Power Up Preconditions and Postconditions 251

        Coding Preconditions and Postconditions 252

        Where Do the Pre/Postconditions Come From? 257

    SPACES Checks and RSVP State Diagrams 262

        What’s Ahead? 263

10    An Autonomous Robot Needs STORIES 265

    It’s Not Just the Actions! 266

        Birthday Robot Take 2 266

        Robot STORIES 268

        The Extended Robot Scenario 269

        Converting Unit1’s Scenario into STORIES 269

        A Closer Look at the Scenario’s Ontology 271

        Paying Attention to the Robot’s Intention 282

        Object-Oriented Robot Code and Efficiency Concerns 304

        What’s Ahead? 306

11    Putting It All Together: How Midamba Programmed His First Autonomous Robot 307

    Midamba’s Initial Scenario 307

        Midamba Becomes a Robot Programmer Overnight! 308

        Step 1. Robots in the Warehouse Scenario 310

        Step 2. The Robot’s Vocabulary and ROLL Model for Facility Scenario #1 312

        Step 3. RSVP for Facility Scenario #1 313

        Visual Layouts of a Robot POV Diagram 315

        Midamba’s Facility Scenario #1 (Refined) 316

        Graphical Flowchart Component of the RSVP 317

        State Diagram Component of the RSVP 324

    Midamba’s STORIES for Robot Unit1 and Unit2 325

        Autonomous Robots to Midamba’s Rescue 338

    Endnote 342

        What’s Ahead? 342

12    Open Source SARAA Robots for All! 343

    Low-Cost, Open-Source, Entry-Level Robots 344

        Scenario-Based Programming Supports Robot Safety and Programmer Responsibility 345

        SARAA Robots for All 346

        Recommendations for First-Time Robot Programmers 348

        Complete RSVPs, STORIES, and Source Code for Midamba’s Scenario 349

A    BURT’s Gotchas 351

TOC, 9780789755001, 4/19/16



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