Author Topic: Not much activity in the Robotics Section... Where is the action???.....  (Read 1150 times)

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Offline Smokey

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This is the place for test and measurement and embedded stuff, but I guess not so much mechanical. 

Who hosts the best home-shop robotics forum these days?  Preferably something that has an active community building bigger stuff, like what would be considered a "heavyweight" battlebot or bigger mobile platforms. 
Thanks!
 

Offline andy3055

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Hey Smokey,

I watch Battlebots!

Did you see my message?

 

Offline Smokey

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I'm not actually looking at building a battlebot, but the mobile platform I'm working on is about that size so the components are similar in some cases.  I said that to differentiate from a forum that maybe specializes in something like micro-mouses, which while interesting are a different thing.
 

Offline Smokey

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Sunday bump.  Where do you mechanical robotics people hang out besides here?
 

Offline Smokey

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One last post-datacenter-fire-apocalypse bump, then I'll let this die I guess.

Where for art thou, active hobby roboticists forums?
 

Online RoGeorge

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I don't know which is the best forum for robotics, but if you are looking for a robotics-only forum with as much activity and expertise floating around as in EEVblog, most probably it doesn't exist anything even remotely alike.

- It is expected the robotics community to be much smaller (e.g. a lathe is much rare than a soldering station)
- It is expected the robotics community to be much younger (i.e. this hobby is mostly present during the high school / university years, and once graduated other interests take over - therefore less years to practice any robotics skills, so the level of expertise of an average robotics enthusiast is expected to be less than the expertise of an average grey beard EE)

If you want to see what others do, google robotics, or robot competition.  Otherwise, just post what you are planning, or making, or just ask here any robotics questions you may have.

My bet is there are plenty of robotics enthusiasts lurking around EEVblog.   :)




(in the pic, one of my first attempts from many, many, many moons ago, a 2 wheels platform made out of a kitchen cutting board, with 2 direct drive steppers from huge 8-inch floppy disks units, and 2 tape recorder reels as wheels, a former cassette tape capstan and pressing role as a casting wheel and a huge 12V UPS size battery - it was a fail, too heavy to move  ;D )

Offline mindcrime

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I'm only just starting to dip my toe in the water with robotics, but I'm around for whatever it's worth. I just got a small robot chassis / platform thing from DFRobot and have been messing about with OpenCV a bit lately, working on computer vision stuff. Hoping to combine those two things soon and start trying to cobble together something in the way of an autonomous robot.

Also, from a fairly different angle, I'm really interested in industrial automation and industrial robots for manufacturing, even though I have never worked with them. Although if you scale your definition down to the scale of small CNC milling machines, I just got my first one and am starting to play with that sort of thing.

Outside of here, I expect there may be some action on some of the various sub-reddits on reddit.com. https://www.reddit.com/r/robotics/ for example.

There is also the Robotics StackExchange site
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 06:06:23 pm by mindcrime »
 

Offline Smokey

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With the amount of high quality industrial grade mechanical stuff that's available second hand on eBay now, I would have expected there to be more people making legit platforms and communities around that.  I guess the price involved in putting together any decent large scale platform is still prohibitive to most people, even if it's 5x lower than buying all new components at list prices.

Anyways... I starting the journey of getting ROS2 set up. 
https://www.ros.org/
This should be interesting.  I haven't worked with a system that requires this much manual setup and tweaking of configuration files in a while.
 

Online RoGeorge

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Any hardware yet?

ROS is on my bucket list, too, started to learn about it a couple of years ago, after accidentally taking a uni classes (from YouTube) about autonomous mapping (SLAM - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simultaneous_localization_and_mapping - not sure if it was this exact playlist
or maybe it was some other SLAM courses on the same channel, but from a more recent year). 

Meanwhile nVidia has a very cheap platform, nVidia Jetson nano, ~$75 total, with hardware acceleration for AI/vision kind of stuff.  Their robotics platform "Isaac" can work with ROS (random example https://developer.nvidia.com/blog/building-collaborative-robotics-using-ros-and-isaac-sdk/ ).  I expect such a setup to be a 10-100 times faster than, for example, a RaspberryPi (that does not have any AI hardware accelerators).

About going from learning only to performant robots, I can tell you even the smallest robots can cost as much as a car.  I know this from a former coworker that built a sumo robot for competitions.

His university was heaving an annual sumo robots competition at the national level.  I was (as a spectator) at one of these.  The event was half a day long, and I thought this would become repetitive and boring pretty fast, but in fact it was a fascinating experience.

Some robots were moving so fast that the phrase "if you blink it, you miss it" was for real.  Low inertia motors, special tires, rare earth magnets underneath the robots to increase the apparent weight and thus the tires friction (the sumo stage was an iron platform), battery packs and drivers capable of hundreds of amps, low latency sensors, and so on.

And the show was also great.  The robots were autonomous, so the algorithms used to detect the other robot, push it and evading from its attacks was playing a big role.  Some were acting dumb and funny, some were fierce.  A few robots beat themselves by slipping outside the arena because of their own inertia, others went in smoke, other were disabled by impact, and so on.

The funniest thing was that the 3rd place was conquered by a team not so experienced.  Their robot was in fact bought as a kit instead of using a custom build, and their main contribution was to put on it a nicely colored skirt/cover.  The team didn't work much on the software side either, and while others were doing very complicating maneuvers, their robot was just blindly turning in circles, and that was bamboozling most of the other robots, because they were assuming much complicated strategies.   ;D
« Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 11:25:16 am by RoGeorge »
 


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