Obstacle detection with Ping))), Propeller Servo Controller USB & RR
honor_the_ways from United States  [9 posts]
13 year
I purchased a Propeller Servo Controller USB (http://www.parallax.com/Store/Accessories/MotorServoControllers/tabid/160/ProductID/595/List/0/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName,ProductName) to use along with Roborealm to get a robot to visually track a target. I also need to hook up some PING))) ultrasound sensors to do additional obstacle detection.

From what I've read here and other places (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?94501-interfacing-the-ping!-ultrasonic-rangefinder-directly-to-the-PC&p=650963&viewfull=1#post650963) it seems that I would need a microcontroller in order to control the PING))) and read values from it.

Is there a way to use RoboRealm's Serial module, or any other module, in order to send the appropriate signal to the PING))) and read the return value without a separate microcontroller unit?
Anonymous 13 year
Unfortunately the serial connection isn't at the right voltage nor the right protocol for this kind of communication. Once upon a time PC's had Parallel ports used for communicating with printers that may actually have worked since they had the right voltage level and could be made to send and read the right signals. As I expect you are using a more modern machine that's probably not going to be very useful to you.

The only alternative is to use a less expensive MCU. The Arduino line of MCU's are quite cheap and could be used for this purpose with a bit of wiring. I know there is code out there to interface an Arduino with a PING)) sensor that you can use.

FYI, given an Arduino you also have a couple lines that you can also use for PWM ... normally this saves you from purchasing another board for servo control but alas since you have already purchased one you probably don't need it for this task either.

The only reasoning towards your advantage is that you most likely will want to use more than one PING)) or IR or other sensors which the Arduino is equipped to handle too. At least you will then have room to grow!

honor_the_ways from United States  [9 posts] 13 year
Thanks Steven. Yea I already figured that I wasn't going to be able to use the PINGS without buying more hardware. My mistake I guess.

I'll just stick solely with RR and the camera and try to keep the robot close to the target. It should run into obstacle as long as the person doesn't walk too close to them.

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