Institute for Personal Robots in Education Blog

A Few Issues with the Surveyor

Mon, 2007-06-25 16:06

I used the Surveyor today for, essentially, my first time. I generally like the robot; it's a cute, squat mobile. It boasts of its technical inner-workings, showing them on its outside. At the same time, all those tiny chips and resistors make the SRV-1 appear rather fragile, but its sturdy tank-style tracks -- in place of the typical wheels -- speak otherwise.

The Surveyor moves in a pretty straight line and has obstacle (infrared) sensors in four directions. It's neat that it has a camera, too, and even (at least with Myro) has a feature to locate a particular color within its field of view; that combined with the ball-scooper in front might make it a good robotic soccer-player. Yet I have a few complaints, which may, if unsolved, reveal the SRV-1 to be a rather poor soccer jock.

First, it can't move at low speeds (it sits, unbudging and beeping lightly, if you tell it to move slowly). Second, it doesn't appear to be getting camera input quickly. These two issues make it difficult to gather data about moving objects, such as the orange golf-ball I'd intended to have the Surveyor follow. Third, the SRV-1, when in motion, will stop on occasion for no apparent reason. It may have to do with its connection to the computer, or there may be some other reason. As a disclaimer, some of these issues could relate to the adaptation of Myro to the SRV-1 technology, and so may be improved upon.

In any case, the little Surveyor seems a fun toy but has its problems.

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