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January 29, 2003 16:17
I'm still tweaking the car, but I've had some success. First of all, I made a new antenna for it. That helped SOME of the deadzone problems, but not all. I'm still going to have to set up a second transmitter probably to get full coverage of the house. I also learned that the old battery IS in worse shape than the new one is. It wasn't just me. :) However, since it only takes the new battery 2 hours to charge fully, I figure I'll just use the old battery as a temporary swap instead of using it for extended periods of time.
The living room cam computer decided to die on me. The computer's fine, but the HD is messed up. I will spend some time attempting to recover the filesystem on the drive as best I can, but since the HD seems to have some serious sector errors, I'll probably just consider it a lost cause. Nothing much of anything on there thats useful anyway. I moved the rc car's capture card to the lab computer, and it seems to be working in there fairly well, so I probably won't bother moving it.
People have gotten VERY good at getting the car stuck. I've solved a lot of the easy problems by placing objects under furniture the car will fit under, and rearranging other furniture to prevent it getting stuck between stuff. There are still obstacles though. Not to mention resourceful people.
Fuzz and I have been discussing a hopefully simple way of having the car maintain its position location by use of markers around the house. The markers will be easily distinguishable shapes and letters. Using pattern recognition and/or OCR on images, and combining that with scaling the image, you can obtain a fairly accurate assessment of where in the house the car is, and what direction it's pointing based on what markers it can see. If two markers are visible in a picture, I figure I can get the precision estimate down to 1 ft, which is less of a footprint than the car takes up. Once the car knows its position and orientation in the house, it can then navigate automatically.