Jon's Place

Saturday, December 29, 2007

BrainBot - Voodoo Control

One of the things we're trying to do is build demos of BrainBot* doing interesting tasks. We're doing this to show that the hardware platform is capable, and thus is worth writing extensive software for. The easiest way to control a platform like BrainBot at this stage is remote control. However, controlling arms and grippers using a joystick doesn't work very well for performing complex tasks.

One of the researchers at the Brain Engineering Lab came up with the idea of "voodoo control", which basically involves manipulating a second BrainBot robot to control the first one. You move the arm of one robot, and the other robot's arm moves in the exact same fashion. I spent the last couple days building a "voodoo server", which allows this to work. In the following video, the tracked-base BrainBot is fully wireless, running off battery and with the bus communications done through wifi. The second robot is connected directly to a USB port of my PC.

*The BrainBot project is directed and funded by the Brain Engineering Lab and Neukom Institute at Dartmouth