The Wyse 5060 thin client has been screwed to an old VESA TV bracket, which works OK but tends to come loose under vibration. Given I primarily want to make the rover drive around outdoors this urgently needs fixing.
The Kinect has been cut down, using information from this blog post so it can be screwed directly to the top deck and this works really well.
I threw a bit of effort at software and the sonar range finders are now an I2C peripheral of the Wemos D1 Mini that talks to the remote control and sends commands to the motor controllers. I also found an old MPU6050 accelerometer and a nice tilt compensated compass to give reliable orientation information put these on the I2C bus.
With the D1 Mini connected over USB to the the 5060 it should be possible to use rosserial to pass all I2C connected sensor information and detail from the motor controllers sensors back to ROS, while accepting 'twist' commands to move. I do vaguely wonder if I should move to an ESP32 though, as the D1 mini is rather busy with synchronous tasks that could do with being done on a second core but more importantly having hardware UARTs to talk to the motor controllers would be far better than the software serial library I'm using.
I've also plugged a USB GPS dongle I had in my box of project bits into a spare port.
Which means I've close to a full 'sensor suite' for a basic rover. The Kinect won't work outdoors and the GPS won't work indoors, so I still need to come up with something to cover these complementary gaps and do a load of work on sensor fusion, but learning about this topic is the whole point of this project.
I see LIDAR and custom made wheel tick sensors built into the hoverboard motors in my future. The former will give some outdoor obstacle location for mapping and the latter help with dead reckoning indoors. Dead reckoning is not going to work on loose surfaces, but will do OK on nice indoor flat floors and be backed up by the Kinect.
As this very much got me to a solid milestone on the rover, I've christened it with a name, 'Crufty' as it's made from 'maker cruft' and intend to write up/open source large chunks of it on Github.
It was also an opportunity for a presentation at my Raspberry Pi meetup despite the total lack of Raspberry Pis in the build.
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