Network Accessible Bookshelf Lighting

Confession, in moments of inspiration I tend to buy electronics kit and then end up leaving it unused for ages. I’ve had a Pimoroni Mote kit and a Raspberry Pi Zero W sitting around for some time now, and whilst I originally intended to mount the LEDs in my PC case, I eventually decided to add some much need lighting to my Ikea Kallax bookshelf. Rather than settle for a static display I decided to completely over-engineer this project and make them controllable over the LAN.


Optical Odometry (Part 2)

This is the second part of a series investigating the use of optical sensors for robot odometry.

In part one of this project I pulled apart an old Microsoft Intellimouse for the optical chip and managed to extract some readings using an Arduino Uno. The aim now is to repackage those components in a way that they could be mounted underneath a small wheeled robot. (more…)

Optical Odometry (Part 1)

For the last few years I’ve taken part in the local Rampaging Chariots competition along with a group of graduates. One of our most recent challenges has been to get a rover to autonomously navigate the assigned assault course. So lately I’ve been thinking a lot about odometry, that is, estimating the position of a robot over time. Typically, a cheap method of tracking the position of a rover is by attaching rotary encoders to the output shaft of the drive wheels. Unfortunately as the traction of the drive wheels isn’t perfect, they will slip occasionally and introduce errors into the estimated position.