I haven't forgotten about robotics, don't worry. In fact, a new robot has come to live at Bot Thoughts laboratories: this slightly dusty, cute, diminutive blue Hero Jr. very generously donated by a local robotics hobbyist, Michael Schievelbein. Thanks, Michael!
|They were computer beige and red from the factory.|
|That's a Motorola 6808 CPU below. Power board above.|
|Remote control receiver board.|
Considering all the advancements in robotics since 1982(!) is enough to make your brain melt. An embedded 8-bit microcontroller could run circles around the 4MHz 6808; Hero came out in the dark days before PIC and AVR, even the 68HC11!
The single Polaroid ultrasonic ranger could be significantly augmented by a slew of Maxbotix ultrasonics and Sharp infrared sensors. Not to mention machine vision--a few OpenMV Cams perhaps? Add an IMU, wheel encoders, GPS, the thing could compete in the AVC.
The chassis is ideally suited to add arms on each side, too. That's an area I've never explored before. The dual lead-acid batteries could be replaced with LiPos.
I could control the robot remotely with an inexpensive 6 or 9 channel FlySky, the receiver of which is 1/10th the size of the factory analog receiver.
The head doesn't turn. But, it could. It wouldn't be hard if the massive, antiquated power and CPU boards were replaced and relocated.
There's an absolutely cavernous space inside this thing. And that's an understatement. It's unreal how much space is available. I could toss in a Raspberry Pi, PCduino, Beaglebone, or Olinuxino for vision, speech, voice, who knows what else. Cripes, I could easily fit a full-on Mini ITX board in here, no problem.
The mind reels at all the things that weren't possible in 1982. Internet connectivity (then a handful of academic computers, no web, no DNS). I can use OLED and LCD color displays. For status. Or... eyes? Precision navigation. All the compute power we never had then. Remember this robot predates the Apple Mac and PC AT. I was playing with a Commodore 64 (MOS 6510 CPU) circa 1982.
|Hero Jr has a front steer/drive wheel. This is it.|
What do you think? Mod or restore?