Tag Archives: arduino

Thoughts on… wearable technology

I haven’t “broadcasted” this widely yet, but I am a participant in the 1st Dress/Sense Competition (2014), which is taking place over three Saturdays (separated by two weeks each). The competition brings together computer scientists, electrical engineers / engineering designers, medics, fashion designers – most are university students (either undergraduate or postgraduate). It also brings in quite a few school children (the youngest being 12 years old). The idea of the competition is to bring these people together, forming small teams, to brain storm and create prototypes of wearable technology for the health reasons, and they have to be comfortable and fashionable. It could be for the purpose of diagnosis, or improving the wellbeing of sufferers of particular diseases, or anything else. It could be physical or psychological health, or both. There is a secondary aim, and that is to ensure costs of the item is minimal, allowing us to provide welfare for sufferers without excessive bills or taxes. We are therefore using things like the LilyPad Arduino.

This is exactly the kind of competition I like, it is co-operative rather than violently competitive, it has a grand vision for the benefit of humanity, and it brings together people of different ages and with different backgrounds to innovate.

We need more of this humanity co-operation in life, not just for healthcare innovation (or tech innovation in general) but for other areas too – politics, education, sustainable energy, urban living, rural living, everything! I want our prime ministers and our presidents to start talking about co-operation, start talking about true community, start publicly talking with those co-operating, and talking with those in communities, and start being part of co-operating communities themselves.

Anyway, I digress. I’m attending this competition to give my knowledge of computer science (particularly artificial intelligence, but probably also a lot of programming knowledge), along with my own personal interests in cardiac health and also future of humanity. We’ve already done one Saturday, and we are due to formulate teams and ideas in the next Saturday. I am enjoying it immensely.

FuzzBot – Part 2 – Photos

And, we have some photos of FuzzBot. Apologies for my awful photography skills.

Front-side view of FuzzBot version 1alpha
Top view of the FuzzBot
Close up of the arduino sitting on the back of the meccano body.

At the moment we’re sitting the arduino inside a plastic pot, which sits on top of the meccano base. Ideally we want to fix the arduino on to the meccano base properly, so that will be something we look at in the future. The ultrasonic sensor on the front is “hooked on” to a little platform that I made last night, and I covered that platform with some electrical tape to prevent any undesirable electrical faults.

For now though it all works as it should. Next stage is a bit more intelligent behaviour…

FuzzBot part 1

Well, new blog, new style…

Some of you may know that I’m currently building a robot (with help from Beki). It has the following components so far…

  • An Arduino Mega 2560
  • An Arduino Motor Shield rev 3
  • An Arduino Ultrasonic Ping Sensor (HC-SR04)
  • Meccano for the shell
  • A Meccano motor base (with the remote control circuitry removed)
  • Batteries: 1x 9v (PP3), and 6x 1.5v (AA)
  • USB cable for connecting with the Laptop (at the moment I’m using Ubuntu Gnome 13.10  distribution of Linux operating system. The hardware is an Intel Core i7.)

At the time of writing, we’ve out together some very basic Arduino-C code which does the following (just for test purposes):

  1. Slowly inches forwards until it reaches 10cm away from an object, then…
  2. Reverses straight 10cm, then…
  3. Turns left, right, left while reversing for another few more seconds.

Today, I’ve refactored out the code which controls the sensors and actuators, along with some of the basic calculations, into a library. This means that I’ve written some C++ code, which is the first bit of C++ I’ve done for quite a few years. This will mean that I can easily create a new Arduino-C sketch and import my C++ library.

I’ve also added some very basic fuzzy commands, to do the following fuzzy rule “if too slow, then speed up a bit”. Which seems to work fine, but probably could do with a bit more tuning.

I plan to research on some data mining methods for collision detection in robotics, as data mining is an area of interest in my PhD I thought it would be appropriate to try to relate it somehow. The final plan is for FuzzBot to have some forms of (Fuzzy) Artificial Intelligence, which I hope will look reasonably organic to a viewer of this machine.

Keep an eye on this blog for more details. I hope to post some pictures when we’ve put the Meccano together in a better way…