Friday, January 2, 2015

A for ANT - Turning a dream into reality

ANT - Even if it feels like an acronym, it really isn't. Its just a name I thought best fit for a dream I see every night for the past few months. Its about a surveillance robot car which can be made at home and can be powered by a smartphone with it. Powering a robot with a smartphone wouldn't be a foolish idea in an era when smartphones come with overwhelming capabilities even more than that of computers.

First hurdle

The main problem in front of me was the parallel communication from an Android device. Most of the Android phones come with a micro USB port and a headphone jack as output communication ports. None of these is going to help me send a command to a motor driver controller which requires digital logic signals as inputs to operate. There were peripheral communication boards like the IOIO but I chose not to use it because I thought they are expensive. I wanted to build something that can be setup with less electronics and cheap components. So the micro USB chapter is closed. The only remaining one is the 3.5 mm audio jack which can output PCM sound waves. Why don't we just use it as an analog source voltage for the motors? The audio jack has two channels, that means you can drive two motors with that which is well enough for me. All I have to do is to amplify the audio signals large enough to drive two 3.5v DC motors.

- To be continued