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I finally got around to reading the rest of Joyce's links. :)
I feel a little guilty for not having read them earlier, although not
too guilty, since it's clear that the last time we discussed IR
detection, Joyce hadn't read them either. :)
I think the following link should be required reading:
Particularly wrt to the current discussion w/ subject "Dropping sensor
signals". I actually went so far as to add a "sensory perception"
section to weblinks.html.
The four Seattle Robotics documents related to Ultrasonic detection
have also revived my interest in ultrasonic sensors. Not to be used
as beacons, but just as extra sensory perception. It was reading the
authors discussion about the Genesys and SR04 robots that really made
me think about Ultrasonic again.
Remember, of course, that the Genesys and SR04 only used IR and
Ultrasonic in order to be able to "see" their surroundings. We would
use IR as a beacon, but Ultrasonic to try and "see" our surroundings.
Think about how useful this could be: when in EVADE mode, we have
almost no way of avoiding death if we accidentally block ourselves
into a corner unless we have Ultrasonic sensors to see that this
That said, there is additional complexity to build Ultrasonic sensors
that must be considered. We'd need to analyze this additional
complexity more closely in relation to the complete robot: from my
understanding of how the sensors work, we would need an additional
rotating servo motor, and an additional mechanism of reporting the
current orientation of this servo motor to the computer (or,
alternately, a motor that is sufficiently accurate that the computer
can simply assume it is in the orientation that the computer has
instructed it to be in). This would also require a few more wires and
interface complexity, but I don't think too much since at least the
Poloroid sensor discussed seems to produce digital "computer-ready"
To address Cindy's potential concern about the robot getting confused
with all this extra sensory input: No, that is simply not a problem.
If you can get the sensory input to the computer, the computer can
sort it out. That's the wonderful thing about computers... They can
recognize what input is important and when it is important (and when
it is not important).
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