AI

Discussions around autonomous, semi-automatic and intelligent robots and systems.

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Knappster
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AI

Postby Knappster » Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:19 pm

To what extent would AI be allowed in an ant i.e. would a completely AI controlled ant be acceptable?

Apart from taking the fun and skill away from the game, I think AI could help with things like weapons control etc...

Or on the more extreme, cluster bots could work with each other using AI and only a "master" bot would have radio control.

What do you guys think?

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Simon Windisch
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Postby Simon Windisch » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:01 pm

As far as I know there is nothing against any amount of AI in an antweight. In fact, I would be one to encourage it, as it will eventually get us more kudos with the "proper roboteers". As well as make it more interesting.

I would have added AI to my own robots, if I knew how!

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Postby Adam Hargreaves » Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:54 pm

For my A-level I'm building an Autonomous Ant, for the purposes of driving practice. Weight is gonna be an issue, but if I can get it vanguely near 150g, I'll be showcasing it at AWS19 (complete with at least it's ramming bar weapon)
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BeligerAnt
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Postby BeligerAnt » Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:10 pm

I think an effective AI antweight is a tall order at the moment!

Currently it's hard enough (at the hobbyist level) to produce a good autonomous sumo robot or maze-navigating "mouse" - even given a weight limit of 500g or more.

Someone tried an automatic weapon on a heavyweight and it was probably less effective than an operator-controlled weapon.

Don't let me put you off though, I never said it couldn't be done! There are certainly no rules against it and I would also encourage it.

For anyone interested in autonomous fighting robots I would suggest mini-sumo is the way to go. 4" footprint and 500g weight limit so not so far removed from ants. There is also some support in the UK already:

http://www.minisumo.org.uk
http://www.robotbuilder.co.uk (look on their forum)
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Knappster
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Postby Knappster » Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:57 pm

omg check these out, its called PICAXE. They are the cheapest microcontrollers (that are actually easy to program) i've ever seen.

http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/

I've ordered the 8 pin version to try it out, it only cost me ?13 inc. vat & p&p.
Comes with the development board, software, battery box, a PICAXE-8 and programming cable.

The PICAXE-18 has direct servo control capabilities.

I can't believe I haven't seen these before, I've heard of the BASIC stamp and normal PIC's etc.. but these are so cheap and easy to use. You can program them in-circuit so you don't have to dismantle your ant everytime you wanna change the code.

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Postby Craig_Anto3 » Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:39 am

dont have to dissmantle? wheres the fun in that :P

PICAXE has been around for a while i tried a simple project but i have what is commonly know as ''idiots syndrome'' or ''fat fingers'' that coupled with the fact i had no idea what i was doing lead to the likely conclusion i'm leting someone else do the work

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Knappster
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Postby Knappster » Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:21 pm

I'm alright I got a National Diploma in Electronic Engineering sitting behind me. Only major problem I've found with the PICAXE is the very limited program space. But this can be overcome by attaching a EEPROM to it.

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Postby olivers » Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:48 pm

with the larger picaxe's I think you get around 400 lines of code. I have a few 28A's kicking around and I could easily make an AI pushing ant in 150g. if would be slightly harder with a weapon.

I would say asn AI ant would be allowed 225g limit rather than 150g, this is just me though as people need incentives to build one.

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Postby petec » Thu Oct 27, 2005 3:43 pm

Depends what the weapon was :-)

The code limits are the biggest restriction on Picaxe's - especially for any kind of AI...even keeping it on the arena will take a bit more than 400 lines of code I would guess. Probably end up with one processer per wheel. The weapon is easy enough with either a microswitch sensor or a light sensor to see when you are near something....so you hit the arena a few times, who cares!!! :D
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Remote-Controlled Dave
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Postby Remote-Controlled Dave » Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:03 pm

AI ants in america have their own catagory (www.buildersdb.com for more info). I think they get a slightly higher weight limit dont they?
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Knappster
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Postby Knappster » Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:33 pm

Well the PICAXE's are cheap and they can be networked together using I2C I think. So having more than one processor in a ant would make sence. Also makes the design of the system alot easier. Instead of having one chip try to do everything, one chip could do steering one could do weapon control etc... cos these chips are so low weight and they don't need alot of external components.

tbh I think if AI ants had there own rules I would say make the weight 175g, that would allow for the extra component weights like sensors and switches etc.. but if the ant is controlled in anyway by external controls the limit would be 150g as normal. Doesn't matter how AI is involved in the running of the ant, if it has external input/s it must be 150g.

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Postby Adam Hargreaves » Thu Oct 27, 2005 6:41 pm

well the AI, on my DT is based on a hunting instinct, which has a line detector built in so it knows if it's about to drive off the edge (yes I know the arena rarely has a line round the edge, but otherwise, my project'd be stuffed!) I'm actually using PICAxe for mine-some 08Ms for the 38kHz IR robot detection bit, and a 28pin one (28X, I think) for the actual robot driving. Weapon modules will have their own PICAxes to control them...
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Postby Andrew_Hibberd » Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:04 pm

I am sure no one would mind about a line taped arround the edges so that it avoided the walls, would they?
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Postby paul » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:18 am

personaly i would say if you do have tape for AI ants have it a few centimeters away from the edge cos an AI bot could easily over shoot especialy if its a fast one.

just a thought.

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BeligerAnt
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Postby BeligerAnt » Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:44 pm

paul wrote:...if you do have tape for AI ants have it a few centimeters away from the edge ...


No! The line needs to go right to the edge. Otherwise the bot finds itself pushed over the "wrong" side of the line and then drives off the edge of the arena by following it's "head away from the line" instinct. :(

Autonomous bots absolutely need some way of "seeing" the edge of the arena. This must necessarily put some restrictions on the arena. I would suggest a (matt) black arena with a white border. Probably best to steal this sort of stuff from the minisumo rules, as they are well-proven and there's no point in trying to re-invent the wheel!

Minisumo also has quite a big exclusion zone around the ring to try to reduce the chances of robots "seeing" a spectator and merrily charging off the edge of the arena in pursuit! (Most of them aren't that bright. - The robots, not the spectators! :wink: )

I don't think anyone is likely to develop a fully-autonomous ant that could take on a human-controlled one anytime soon. Don't underestimate the processing power of the human brain and the sheer complexity of human sensors!
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