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Anatomy of a Rover

Watch this video to find out more about the anatomy of a rover robot. Dr Richard Mitchell explains more.
This is Rover, which is designed as an expandable robot, which we use in the second year as a project when students are challenged to make the Rover move around, do particular tasks. Whereas the ERIC is an autonomous robot, works on its own, this particular robot is designed to be controlled remotely and to sense information and send that information back. So it can act rather like a Mars Rover. Now, if we have a look at the particular thing, because it’s supposed to be able to work on different terrains and so forth, we’ve got a tracked robot rather than just two wheels, and that allows it to go over different surfaces pretty well.
Therefore, there are not two wheels, but we have four wheels, one, two, three, four, and the associated motor controls and so forth. In order to control it, rather than having just one board, we’ve got two. So there’s a main board underneath, which has on it extra motor control and extra processing, because it needs to do more than just respond like Eric does. On the top board, we’ve got most of the sensors that we need for it. What are the components there? Well, first we have the power regulation, then we have the light sensors.
In order that the robot can find out how far it’s gone, it has similar odometry.
We have infrared for communications, then we have sensors for detecting light, and also temperature. In order that the Rover can communicate with the base station both ways, it has a radio module with built in Wi-Fi, a magnetometer for working out which direction it’s going, a 3D accelerometer just as ERIC has, for detecting slopes and so forth using the force of gravity, and a gyro for working out where the robot is when it’s rotating, or how much it has rotated. And then it has two lights here, and if I switch the robot on, the green light immediately says, all right, it’s working OK.
And then the red light comes on, which tells you that the communication is working, so it’s talking to the base station. So we’ll simulate the robot going at different angles, and the information from the sensor, which can normally be used as electronics, or as a signal that is sent back to the computer, we can hear it. So we’ve connected a loudspeaker to the sensor. So. At 45 degrees. At minus 51 degrees. And at a different angle. At 108 degrees.
And now we can see the robot turning round and round, which the sensors will detect, you can see on the screen.
So that’s the basic robot, which we provide for the students, and then they can programme it up to do particular tasks. You can also add extra information, extra sensors to it. So for instance, we have added ultrasonics, we’ve added sensors for line following, for dispensing fluids, and we’ve also had a gripper so that the Rover can go around and pick things up. And the students have designed the grippers and printed them also using the 3D printer.

Richard reveals the internal anatomy of Rover – one of the University’s mobile robots

What are the key differences between ERIC and Rover? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Remember you can ‘like’ and reply to comments made by others.

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