CASE STUDY- Re-Cycling Robots

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CASE STUDY- Re-Cycling Robots

Postby radiomadeeasy » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:48 pm

LPRS Radio Modules Bring Re-Cycling Robots to Life

LPRS, Europe’s leading supplier of shortrange radio devices, is providing Foundation-Robotics, the UK based creator of animatronics devices, with easyRadio wireless modules for their Cycler, state of the art presentation robot. Specially designed and built for the environment and education charity Waste Watch, Cycler is used to bring their waste prevention message of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to schools around the UK.

To use Cycler to run the recycling education programmes in Schools a “handler” is required who tells him what to do by sending commands using a concealed radio transmitter powered by easyRadio. Cycler has five microcontrollers for a brain and nervous system, an MP3 sound file player, amplifier and speakers to allow him to talk, and seven electric motors to make him move.

The handler can make Cycler drive around, move his arms, move his head and has full control over the MP3 player allowing highly interactive dialogs to take place.

In between being told what to do, Cycler runs his own inbuilt personality program which makes him look around, moving and flashing his eyes, whilst moving his head and arms. For practical reasons Cycler is not allowed to drive about unless specifically ordered to do so by his handler. This personality program enables the handler to have both hands in view whilst Cycler continues to move speak and generally look alive which aids the presentation by keeping the attention of the audience.

To date it is estimated that Foundation-Robotics Cycler robots, which visit 3 schools per day, have been seen by some 750,000 children and have proved an excellent means of keeping their young audience’s attention during these presentations.

David Buckley, Managing Director of Foundation-Robotics comments, “My original designs were based on conventional wireless chip-sets and modules which promised ease of use. In practice I discovered I had to spend a lot of time adding many layers of error correction software to achieve any degree of reliable wireless connectivity. After I discovered easyRadio’s 433MHZ transmitter and receiver modules, I found I didn’t get any errors at all. I even turned off the error correction I had previously had to use and easyRadio just kept working. easyRadio has been very easy to use, completely reliable and I would recommend it to anybody looking for a wireless control solution.”

Barry Gillibrand, Former MD of LPRS commented; "The experience of Foundation-Robotics is typical of the response we get for easyRadio. An out-of-the-box and stress-free solution to replacing cable connections with short-range wireless modules. Our software is simple and easy to use and ensures reliable, error free wireless communication."

About Foundation-Robotics: David Buckley was trained in mechanical and electrical engineering at Associated Electrical Industries and Salford Electrical Instruments before studying mathematics at Manchester University followed by a Post Graduate Diploma in Computing at the (then) Polytechnic of North London (PNL). David was a member of the first computer club in the country, started at the PNL. In the early eighties he designed two robots, Zeaker and Zero2, which were sold into education and to hobbyists; David was Consultant Editor for 'Your Spectrum' and 'Practical Robotics' both popular news-stand magazines and has written numerous articles on robotics including sessions for 'The Open Tech' Foundation Courses. In the late eighties David designed and built the experimental 'Shadow Biped Walker' and since then he has been designing and building custom electro-mechanical special effects for theatres and museums. Some of the more notable projects being:

A Robotic-Leg for use in medical research into powered prosthetic legs, designed and built in partnership with The Shadow Robot Company for North Carolina A & T University;

Cycler Presentation Robots used by WasteWatch;

Various animatronics figures for museums round the world, such as the two animatronics talking figures, the Butler and Dr Mirakel, for the Spririt of Salzburg museum, Salzburg;

A total rebuild of the 'New Invention', a full-size wood-chopping car - invented by Beauty's father, for Disney's Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Rd, London;

A 3/4 full-size driveable Postman Pat Van for the British touring show;

The pneumatic special effects for the 'Jack and the Beanstalk' pop-up book for Disneyland Paris, the pages were about 15ft x20ft and real actors moved through the pop-up sets;

All the computer control and pneumatics for the figures in 'Rumpus Mansion' at Blackgang Chine Theme Park on the Isle of White;

The 2/3 full-size animatronics Camels for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for the production at the London Palladium and the British and American touring shows;

And the control electronics and software for Jim Whiting's shows - in Cologne, Berlin and Deus ex Machina at the Wapping Pump House London.
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