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Which programming language to use for this task?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
This might take a minute to explain. I'm sure some of you will think this is stupid but its just something I'd like to try, sometime in my life before I die. I'd like to build a small walking automated defense turret. Something roughly the size of a house cat. Perhaps slightly larger. I think it would be really cool. A boy can dream can't he? And from what I gather, its actually completely doable with modern technology.

The targeting doesn't have to be anything complicated at all. You'd think that would be the hardest part, but its actually one of the easiest. See those motion sensors used for home security have been around for a long time now. And as I'm sure many of you have seen on youtube, they can be used for all manner of things besides simply telling an alarm to go off. They can tell a little electric mechanism which way to point, as well as an attached automatic weapon to fire. That part has been done many times. Mainly with paintball guns instead of lethal weapons though lol. At first you might think this is dangerous. Seeing as how the motion sensor is going to target anything moving and try to blow it away.

But in order to avoid this, all you really have to do, is have an RF transponder (just like they use on trains when they're going by checkpoints and such) to tell the turret not to fire on, and to ignore that particular moving object. But whoever doesn't have the correct transponder code bouncing off of them when the turret looks at them and performs the check, gets shot until they stop moving. Then for the legs, its a simple enough matter to rig up 4 little "spider" legs made out of whatever is durable and long lasting and lightweight enough. I chose legs instead of wheels cause with the right programming, they wouldn't get hung up on difficult terrain like little RC car wheels would. The little bot could run on lithium ion batteries and be programmed to return to a charging station and charge itself to full, once patrolling had run its battery out. Or, for long term use, you could even rig up a little gasoline remote control car motor on the bot, which kicks on when power gets low. The motor of course turns a little alternator, which then charges up the battery. Of course this would need a small amount of fuel, and you could just use the RC car fuel tank.

But that could be programmed to only kick in, in emergency situations. Like if the bot spotted something, and its battery power was low. I was thinking of having the bot walk continually towards its target as it fired, until it was within 10 feet of it, or the target stopped moving. After all, once it stops moving, the bot can't see it anymore anyway. Its also a fairly simple matter to tell the bot to only patrol a certain area, and to not leave that area. Children's toys can do that task.

So what do you think? What programming language should I choose, that would have the flexibility to take on this particular project?
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post #2 of 14
C++, C or assembly. Its actually a quite difficult project by the sounds. I'm guessing that you will need an on-robot logic board (cant have it permanently connected to a computer), which makes it harder still.
    
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post #3 of 14
you're right. autonomous turrets have been done before. and so have walking robot things, but ive never seen them together.

i'd start by just making a stationary turret, and then try to make it mobile. one of my ta's at school did a stationary autonomous turret for his senior design project. maybe that will give you some ideas.

anyway, i agree with FiX, you'll want to use C or assembly. for an logic board, i've heard good things about the Arduino.
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yeah that video is what gave me the idea. That guy has done all the hard work. Now all you do is mount that to a "smart" 4 legged walking platform that knows when to go back and charge up its batteries, and knows not to leave a certain area. I think that now that the guy in the vid has done all the hard work, it should be a relatively easy matter to rig up the walker part. You can probably just buy the walking part and just marry them up together.
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post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennylava View Post
You can probably just buy the walking part and just marry them up together.
but designing and building it yourself will be so much more rewarding

no but seriously, i agree, the walking part could be independent of the turret part. and the logic for determining when to charge its batteries and to make it stay in an area shouldnt be too tough.

if/when you start the project, make sure to do a build log.
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post #6 of 14
Don't decide on a programming language until you buy your hardware. Depending on what you use to control your robot (I'm assuming you're using an embedded system) there may or may not be language plugins or APIs for a particular language set which would make your project much easier to do.

An example of this would be the Lego NXT robot has plenty of open source libraries and even it's own programming language available (based on C/C++) but you'll be hard-pressed to find anything done for you in Java or some other obscure language.
post #7 of 14
Sounds like a job for an Arduino

Visual Basic FTW!
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post #8 of 14
I like how you say things will be "easy" and "its a simple enough matter." In theory, sure it all sounds real easy. When you get down to the nitty gritty of it all though, you're going to have a hell of a time with all of it. Even with "stealing" other people's designs, you're still going to be in for a rough time.

I would suggest coding this in C. What background do you have? Have you taken any embedded systems classes?
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post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paddiruku View Post
What background do you have? Have you taken any embedded systems classes?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennylava View Post
A boy can dream can't he?
We'll if he's just a kid... lol
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by IKenshinI View Post
We'll if he's just a kid... lol
Well if he's just a kid, and he isn't a genius, then it's a pretty big dream xD. If it was easily doable we would have an army of robotic sentries used for military and law enforcement applications...but we don't lol.

This isn't deus ex ;|
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