David Dorhout of Ames, IA, wrote in with his very cool robot, Nuntius the Garden Avenger. Love the controller!
A couple of years ago I first saw one of those self contained game systems that consist of just the joystick and the AV wires that you plug into your TV. I was simply amazed at the simplicity and brilliance of the concept. You just plug it in and play.
Nuntius is based on the same basic concept of those systems except it’s a robot. The controller it a biomechanical input device that consists of a propeller proto board that measures the position of a 5 + gripper axis “mini arm” that you articulate with your hand just like you would if you were actually there. The propeller then send the data via a XBEE to the robot. The result is that the big arm on the robot mirrors the mini arm and you control the robot by looking through a wireless camera that’s attached to the gripper. The movement of the robot is proportional to the direction and how far the arm is extended (or pulled back for reverse). The further the arm is extended, the faster it goes in that direction. The robot only moves while you’re holding down a button on the proto board. This allows you to drive the robot around and then stop and examine something with just a button and the mini arm. You just plug it in and do whatever… weed the lawn, weed the garden, weed!