My programming story... so far

Early days When I was 12, I was given a Raspberry Pi. For the first couple of days, it was really fun. After I had browsed the web for a while and played a bit of Minecraft, it sat in it's box for a few months. I really had no idea what to do with it. That was until I discovered that I could build a website with it. Wow, that was cool. I installed Apache and spent some time finding out where I needed to put the code. I started off getting to grips with HTML in nano (using inline styling, of course) until I realised I could write CSS in separate files and load them in. That was continue...

The Pi-Powered Hamster Hunter Part 4: Reflections

Reflections At the end of our project our initial objectives had now been added to and matured through the development process. Objectives at the start The objective of this project was to build an all terrain vehicle which could be used for various applications and controlled from anywhere in the world. We wanted it to be operational in all circumstances, which meant being able to operate in low light/pitch dark conditions and being able to traverse all terrain. It was essential for the user to be able to see from the ReCoRVVA’s point of view in real time. We also wanted the ReCoRVVA to be able to sense when it was about to crash and automatically stop to continue...

The Pi-Powered Hamster Hunter Part 3: Putting it all together

Assembling the components The first prototypes we put together used an Arduino, and it was with these first prototypes that we had many problems with the motors. The first thing we tried was to run each motor from one of the Arduino’s digital pins. They were 5v motors, and the digital pins on the Arduino supplied 5v each, so we assumed the motors would run. We wrote then uploaded a simple drive script to the Arduino. However, the motors didn’t turn. We debugged the code and found no errors, we checked the pins were supplying voltage and yet the motors still didn’t turn. Eventually, we realised that there was a limit on the amount of current able continue...

The Pi-Powered Hamster Hunter Part 2: Tech development

Technical development Hardware Core controller This was to be the brains of the ReCoRVVA. Its task was to control all the peripherals on the ReCoRVVA, to manage all communications with the client and, by extension, the user. It needed to be capable of handling multiple tasks at once and be able to use multiple electrical inputs/outputs to control the physical aspects of the ReCoRVVA. It also needed to be customisable, so that we could quickly and easily change things, e.g. software or, if we had a accident, interchangeable controllers. It needed to be able to support the data inflows/outflows shown in figures 4 and 5. Arduino The first option we explored was to use an Arduino (a continue...

The Pi-Powered Hamster Hunter Part 1: The Beginning

Last year, I and two of my friends, Ben James and Angus Ledesma, decided to create a Raspberry Pi powered robot for a Silver CREST project. I posted an overview of the project last July and have finally got around to converting the CREST report to a blog-friendly write-up! Background The ReCoRVVA will help and assist people in many different ways; as the name suggests, it is designed to be used for many purposes. At its simplest it is a vehicle designed to be controlled remotely by an operator with the aid of a live video stream from the robot. It could be used as a security patrol vehicle for surveillance, or to regularly check on an elderly relative remotely. continue...

ReCoRVVA - a Pi powered hamster hunter!

I know I haven't written anything for a while, but I have been doing stuff! My latest project was one I have been doing with Ben James (the hamster owner) and Angus Ledesma. It was a British Science Association CREST project and our idea was to build a shoe-box sized remotely controlled robot vehicle equipped with a range of sensors such as temperature, humidity, distance and a camera. The vehicle was built from a tracked chassis kit, two motors (to drive the tracks), two servos (to pan and tilt the camera), a Raspberry Pi to control everything and a LOT of batteries! The vehicle could be controlled from anywhere in the world through a web-based user interface to the controller continue...