Let LEGO robot walk your dogbot: RoboPet controlled from RCX

Last summer, we had a a lot of fun controlling RoboSapien robot using the serial infrared tower from LEGO Mindstorms version 1.5 kit. However, this required the tower (and thus also a PC) to be in the robot vicinity. Still, thanks to the feedback of the owners from the new robots from the WowWee family, we were very keen on seeing that the same program with small modifications can be used for RoboSapien V2, RoboPet, and RoboRaptor - read more and find the software at the bottom of Controlling RoboSapien using LEGO IR-Tower project page.

The idea of controlling Sapien from the RCX was pending somewhere on my TODO list, until Robert Oschler - author of the great RoboSapien Dance Machine wrote to me:

If anyone can do it Pavel, you can. :)

I did'n believe him, but happened to spend a night learning more about the internals of the H8/3292 processor (and it was worth it as it has amizing lot of useful features!), but also learned that without modifications of BrickOS itself (which was beyond my energy supply), I was not able to program its internal timers correctly, so I almost gave up. At the end I gave it a last try: measure the time interval of a simple loop, and voila! it worked right away, and our RoboPet started to respond to the signals sent from the RCX's built-in IR port!

You can download a video of a small demo (sorry about the video quality, I just used my webcam) here:

rcxnpetsmall.wmv (normal quality 1.9 MB).
rcxnpet.wmv (13.2 MB).

A simple program sapien.c in BrickOS that sends one RoboPet command from RCX, and can be used to send commands to all RoboSapien & family from RCX with small modifications is freely available here: sapienrcx.zip (including necessary parts of BrickOS to run it on Windows). So download the Linux or Windows version of BrickOS, and have a lot of fun! Let us know! All comments are appreciated! Richard promised to measure if the loop time interval can be improved to make sure we are sending out as exactly as possible what WowWees like to hear.

Extras: rcxrepeater.zip - sends commands to robots from PC through RCX (both serial and USB tower will do). rcxrepeater2.zip (updated 2006-02-24 04:38 [GMT+1]) - new version that controls lego motors and has 16 memory slots.

(c) January 2006, www.robotika.sk Pavel (ppetrovic (at) acm.org) and Richard, (balogh (at) elf.stuba.sk).

User comments: (Poznamky:)

  $Nile$, 2006-01-22 19:23:41, reply
This really works but i have another versoinof my own(the dog moves faster)
  Pavel, 2006-01-23 07:30:18, reply
Thanks for your message and greetings to U.K. Do you mean another version of video? Sure, this video is really just to see it works, and now it is up to all of you to have your fun with it and create much nicer interactions of the dog and other WowWees with all kinds of LEGO inventions!!! And if you like to share here with others what you made, just send us what you want to publish here, or give us a URL to your site. We are curious, of course! :-)

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