In 2012 I wrote about my “first” robot, the “rob01“. But actually it is not true that this was my first autonomous robot. Lately my father found the long lost “rob00″ on his attic. In ~1988 I build a robot at school as part of an entry to “Jungend Forscht“, together with my fried Gustav (he did the mechanics, I did the electronics and coding). Also this robot was what one would call a “hack” today. It was remote controllable from a computer, and it was able to drive autonomous, somewhat :-). Here are some of the details (as I remember them):
The computer used to remote operate was an Atari1040ST, black-and white screen, disk drive only. A kind of IO card was connected to the parallel port which gave 8 digital outputs, and 2 or so inputs. To transmit the commands from the Atari to the robots DC motors, a Graupener Varioprop C4 remote control (27Mhz band) was used. To be able to send the signals from the computer through the remote, the remote was broke open. Then I disconnected the internal potentiometers and connected instead a set of external resistors which then where switched (indirectly by some relays) from the IO card. Thisworked very well :-). Instead of connecting servos at the receiver side, some CD4001BE (CMOS NOR Gates) based converts wher used which switched a relay to turn the motor on/off. The motors (12V DC Mabuchi gear motors) where powered by two totally over-sized 6V/3Ah/s lead acid batteries from “Sonnenschein“.
Now to have an idea how far the robot moved, a back channel was integrated into the robot. Therefore an other 27MHz remote control was broke open (since it is without cover I can not tell what brand/model it was – I guess it was a Graupner too) and mounted on the robots second platform.
Then with some other relay cards, the signals of two infrared sensors on the wheels (detecting black/white areas on a disk) where transmitted back to the receiver on the computer side.
The software unfortunately is lost completely. As far as I remember it was a GUI based software, written in GFA Basic. One could draw a room (walls, obstacles etc.) with the mouse. Then draw a path which the robot was supposed to drive. With some luck, the robot did its path as programmed then :-).
Haha, and by the way. The hand drawn turtle on the back of the acrylic case is there to cover a nasty gap in the case because the case was slightly to small. So dammit, after all I still (again) do the same stuff as I did almost 30 years ago …