back to article Register reader Ray revs radio-controlled Raspberry Pi race rover

As geeks worldwide continue to come up with inventive ways to deploy the hit Brit minikit Raspberry Pi, and the publication of a 101 uses for a...* guide is surely just a matter of time, Reg reader Ray Brooks has been in touch to show off his prototype carbot powered by the diminutive ARM-compatible computer. Ray is a …

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  1. Mr_Pitiful
    Unhappy

    URL?

    Where is the cars URL?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: URL?

      If they post it we'll crash his car

      IGMC

    2. Ray0x6
      Happy

      Re: URL?

      Hey there! The car's not publicly available online, I'm afraid :) It's just a prototype

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: URL?

        It's damned cool, though all the same.

      2. Lyndon Hills 1
        Happy

        Anyone want one?

        I trust the GPS position in the video was faked, or you'll have a queue round the block....

        Great effort by the way, I didn't know Tamiya were still in business, I remember making their kits well over 30 years ago.

  2. theModge

    2 Year Elec Eng Project

    Anyone doing anything in the electrical engineering block at Birmingham Uni should have an advantage here: the 2nd year project is to build a line following robot, which are then raced. Ours was based on a PIC16F84, which should tell you something about how long ago I was at uni. Clever people did stuff with camera's and visual processing (which didn't work for most of them, and sure as hell wasn't run on a PIC16F84) efficient engineering types used arrays of light sensors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

      Even lego nxt does line follow out of the box. the new ev3 will do gyro controlled segway style balance bot out of the box.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

      I built a line follower so long ago it used a couple of VDRs and discrete analog components. None of these integrated circuit thinigies.

      1. Vic

        Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

        > I built a line follower so long ago it used a couple of VDRs and discrete analog components

        Yep. I built one like that in 'O' level Physics.

        Getting the illumination level right turned out to be important, so I built an ALC out of the three outputs. And then a voltage comparator on that output to detect the front end going over a step :-)

        Vic.

      2. Michael Dunn
        Thumb Up

        Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

        Remember Squee? Gernsback's light follower as published in Popular Electronics in the '50's using VALVES.

    4. Irongut

      Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

      "based on a PIC16F84, which should tell you something about how long ago I was at uni"

      Last week? When I was at Glasgow Uni we used discrete logic chips for that kind of thing. Or an interface to a PC where we'd write the code in Turbo Pascal. None of these fancy newfangled PIC things. ;)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

        Mine was based on flint, we didn't have any of this new-fangled bronze technology back then

    5. Steven Roper

      Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

      White-line following cars? How very 70s! ;)

      I remember seeing a circuit for a white-line following model car in an ETI magazine back in 1979 or thereabouts. Only that one didn't use complex computer chips or software; as I recall, it simply consisted of two side-by-side phototransistors either side of a light bulb, feeding into an op-amp-based voltage comparator, which in turn fed current to the steering servo, according to which one of the phototransistors was receiving more light from drifting over the white line than the other. No CPUs or software involved, just a basic electronic feedback loop consisting of a handful of resistors, capacitors, transistors and a cheap op-amp IC (an LM 3900 IIRC.)

      These days the solution wold consist of a billion-transistor CPU, a gig of RAM, a CCD camera and ten thousand lines of optical-recognition code to achieve the same result!

      (Reg, we seriously need a "Get off o' my lawn" icon for us old farts that remember this shit...)

      1. Vic

        Re: 2 Year Elec Eng Project

        > two side-by-side phototransistors

        Three is better - two tends to make it hunt...

        Vic.

  3. g e
    Go

    Raspberry Pi Cookbook surely?

    As an homage to R A Penfold (IIRC)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old Android Phone + Arduino

    Could have got pretty much everything he needed by buying a 20 quid used android phone and an arduino :)

    1. Ray0x6

      Re: Old Android Phone + Arduino

      Yeah, all the hardware is there but it would have been a real PITA to program. The purpose of it being built in Javascript is that the coding is easy and therefore I won't get furious trying to work around undocumented proprietary hardware drivers, which is what many Droids are full of :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Old Android Phone + Arduino

        Mmm not sure how my android phones you've worked with but it's actually really easy to get access to all the sensors and such like. No need to worry about hardware drivers or anything of the like, just use android ADB.

        1. Ray0x6

          Re: Old Android Phone + Arduino

          Well, quite a bit as it happens. A few years ago, I was one of the first to do host mode on the HTC Desire, a video demo of which you can find on my YouTube account. However, I wanted to build a robot that would be portable and super fast to prototype in, which is why I chose Javascript.

    2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Old Android Phone + Arduino

      Easier still, he could have bought a radio controlled car. Or easiest of all, he could have sat on his arse and done nothing.

  5. ukgnome
    Thumb Up

    @Ray0x6

    Nice project - it beats the shnizzle out of my rather boring media dohickey

  6. JeffyPooh
    Pint

    For the love of gawd...

    ...tidy up that wiring. :-)

    1. hplasm
      Happy

      Re: For the love of gawd...

      The minute he does, it will stop working...

  7. Michael Hutchinson
    Thumb Up

    Looks like he invented time travel too...

    March 12 2013!

    1. stucs201

      Re: Looks like he invented time travel too...

      Are you sure? Cool as this is I doubt it'll manage 88mph.

  8. Christian Berger

    Nifty, but the camera is missing of course

    To bad USB cameras don't work well with the PI. Ohh and maybe one can add UMTS, so it's truly mobile. :)

    1. Ray0x6
      Happy

      Re: Nifty, but the camera is missing of course

      Sad fact! Happy fact is that there is a camera for the Pi coming out very soon! And yes, I will be getting one!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nifty, but the camera is missing of course

        It needs a GoPano type lens attachment on the Pi Cam! - and suitable image decoding...

  9. piscator
    Go

    just needs to fit one of these ...

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/01/wicked_lasers/

    then it won't matter if other cars get in front of it -- they won't be there for long !

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: just needs to fit one of these ...

      I'm waiting for the lawnmower attachment.

    2. Ray0x6
      Thumb Up

      Re: just needs to fit one of these ...

      Yeah, I saw that! The one I have and plan to attach is only 100mW (10% power of that kriton beast) but easily enough to blind at short range. It will be used for range sensing, however(!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Dude, you can't fit a 100mW laser to a mobile object in meatspace!

        You'll have people's eyes out!

        1. Ray0x6

          Re: Dude, you can't fit a 100mW laser to a mobile object in meatspace!

          It'll be 4 inches off the ground... should be safe enough. probably. uh.

  10. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great fun project.

    Just ignore the snipers that probably aren't actually doing anything better themselves.

    Oh, and you need some black and white chequered 'go-faster' tape down the sides :)

  11. DJV Silver badge
    Happy

    50 Fun Raspberry Pi Recipes?

    Or even "50 Shades of Pi"

  12. M Gale

    I have to wonder

    Separate servo controller when the Arduino has more servo channels than you can shake a stick at?

    Nice car though. My own Arduino is still sat here waiting for me to think of something to do with it.

  13. Robin

    RRRRRR!

    "Register reader Ray revs radio-controlled Raspberry Pi race rover"

    That's some nice alliteration, good work!

  14. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Great idea but…

    node.js for the control system, seriously? Whatever works for you, I guess and it really is a most impressive project.

  15. jon 13
    Happy

    Get with it Grandad! Swap that old-fashioned NiCD/NiMH stick and brushed motor for a LiPo and brushless - you'll get far less emf electrical interference as the BL doesn't spark across the commutator.

  16. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Now this is what a Raspberry Pi should be good at

    Forget all the tenuous and ill-informed teaching-coding-in-schools crap, for which the Pi is a truly terribly idea.

  17. Mips
    Childcatcher

    Aargh! Alliteration Warning

    Help!

  18. Ray0x6

    Slides and video featuring this project from the recent talk at MLOC.JS

    VIDEO: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/29300995

    SLIDES: http://www.slideshare.net/rayui/scaling-into-meatspace-a-javascript-engineers-persepctive

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