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Author Topic: Using an Arduino for a control/robotics project?  (Read 716 times)
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I've just finished my first year of AS Computing, and over the year I've been messing around with the Arduino doing a few tutorials which came with the Arduino experimentation kit and a few from the main website.

And now I'm coming up to the start of my A2 year and I'm really having some trouble deciding on a project to do, I know that if I don't start before the end of the summer it'll become very hard to find the motivation to start something with all of my other subjects.

What I had initially planned to do was a ecommerce website for a computer store, which would fit the specification of 'a data-processing problem of an organisation' which is why over the past few weeks I've learned enough PHP and MySQL to make a site which works with a database. However, I'm having trouble making this a 'complex problem' and fit it into the higher marks bracket and overall this kind of project is something which doesn't really excite me.

So going over the specification again and I've noticed two from problems to choose from which would allow me to use the Arduino to make something a little more interesting 'a computer-aided learning system' and 'a control system / robotics.'

And so my question is, with learning C for programming the Arduino (which I'm already partially familiar with) do you think that there is a project I could do which is sufficiently complex to get into a higher grade bracket but is easy enough (or difficult but well covered by tutorials) for me with only a little experience to do, and do you think it would be worth it?

I was thinking that I could include the use of a MySQL database to help to make it 'complex' project, a sensor to collect information to store in the database and something which is able to physically do something, like a motor to do something based on the information from the sensor.

Would this be possible with the Arduino? And can anyone thing of a project for me to do? (One idea I had was something involving weather which measured either temperature, humidity, or light and then acted on it in some way?)

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Why don't you post the marking scheme? Might help us come up with ideas for you.

Also, as a general rule you should probably aim to do a complex project but one which you already know how to achieve. I wouldn't advise bringing in a device/language etc. etc. which you're not that good at yet. This is school work so it WILL get boring fast and you'll have just made life more difficult for yourself.
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I would post the mark scheme but they don't seem to have it available online and the version they hand out is still extremely cryptic. Thanks for the advice anyway.
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If you can do something involving artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networking, machine vision, artificial life - or a combination of all of those (which is certainly a possibility!), I can guarantee you it will be complex enough, it will certainly challenge you, and if you manage to successfully implement a working system and can reliably demonstrate it to your instructors (and they are able to grasp what is going on), you are almost guaranteed high marks (and a wonderful subject for your future resume/CV).

 smiley

/it also wouldn't hurt to add something relating to virtual/augmented reality, either.
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Thanks Crosh, robotics projects with the Arduino is something I can really  get my mind around doing as it's something new and a little more challenging rather than just time consuming and easy.

What I was thinking about when it comes to 'machine learning' is that I could create something fairly simple like a little scout with sensors which is able to take something from the surroundings, and then either upload it immediately to a database or for it to be stored and then uploaded which is then able to be used again in the future.
Or I could do something to automate a board game, like a series of motors with a frame which is able to move chess/checker pieces based on a movement by a player detected by a series of light gates/infra-red sensors?
Although, as I've mentioned these might be out of my league at the moment, ideas anyone?


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On the topic of chess/checker based project, I just found this: http://www.jahandar.ir/Chess-Playing-Robot/ which was programmed by a 17 year old Iranian with a micro controller, although I get a feeling that with it winning few awards that it still might be a little too difficult.
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Quote
What I was thinking about when it comes to 'machine learning' is that I could create something fairly simple like a little scout with sensors which is able to take something from the surroundings, and then either upload it immediately to a database or for it to be stored and then uploaded which is then able to be used again in the future.

You might want to check into a series of books I have posted here at my website as a part of an interview I did with the author. The books themselves are a little outdated (including the robotic systems, and the programming - which is everything from "hard coded" logic to assembler for old microprocessors, to BASIC in the later books):

http://www.phoenixgarage.org/show_article/12

Note that these are all long out-of-print; you might be able to find something of them on Amazon (which is why I have them linked), or thru Alibris, or other used book dealers. Once you have them, and have read them through, there wouldn't be anything stopping you from taking the ideas implemented in those books, and implementing them with a newer hardware/software platform and robotics system...

 smiley
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