Skip to main content

DIY Roomba Virtual Wall, Part 5

After using the DIY Roomba Virtual Walls for a week now, I found something interesting that is rarely mentioned by the folks who have made this. The only mention I could find is from this blog post:

"After examining the original virtual wall, with a webcam, I was able to see that it emits infrared light from its top round transparent ring and from a small hole above the switches. The light coming from the top ring prevents the robot from colliding with the virtual wall, if it comes from its sides or from behind. The front hole emits light as a beam. This beam of light is directional and stops at the nearest obstacle, probably a real wall, preventing the robot from crossing it to the other side."

Indeed, when using the DIY version, the first thing I noticed is that the unit has to be strategically placed because the Roomba will knock into it more often than expected. 

So a more robust DIY version will need to have another IR LED pointing at some kind of conical reflector mounted at the top that spreads the IR signal around the unit to prevent Roomba from running into it, just like the commercial version.

Mind you, the DIY version still works very well. It's just that some thought needs to be given to its placement so that it won't be knocked away or tipped over by the Roomba easily.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Adding "Stereo Mixer" to Windows 7 with Conexant sound card

This procedure worked for my laptop (Thinkpad E530) with a Conexant 20671 sound card, but I suspect it will work for other sound cards in the Conexant family. I was playing with CamStudio to do a video capture of a Flash-based cartoon so that I can put it on the WDTV media player and play it on the big screen in the living room for my kids. The video capture worked brilliantly, but to do a sound capture, I needed to do some hacking. Apparently, there was this recording device called "Stereo Mixer" that was pretty standard in the Windows XP days. This allowed you to capture whatever was played to the speaker in all its digital glory. Then under pressure from various organizations on the dark side of the force, Microsoft and soundcard makers starting disabling this wonderful feature from Windows Vista onwards. So after much Googling around, I found out that for most sound cards, the hardware feature is still there, just not enabled on the software side. Unfortunately, to

Hacking a USB-C to slim tip adapter cable to charge the Thinkpad T450s

This hack is inspired by this post . A year ago, I bought an adapter cable for my wife's Thinkpad X1 Carbon (2nd Gen) that allows her to power her laptop with a 60W-capable portable battery (20V x 3A). A USB-C cable goes from the battery into the adapter, which converts it to the slim tip output required by the laptop. Everything works out of the box, so I didn't give much thought about it. Recently, I decided to buy a similar cable for my Thinkpad T450s. I know technically it should work because the T450s can go as low as 45W (20V x 2.25A) in terms of charging (though I have the 65W charger - 20V x 3.25A).  I went with another adapter cable because it was cheaper and also I prefer the single cable design. So imagine my surprise when the cable came and I plugged it into my laptop and it didn't work! The power manager just cycle in and out of charging mode before giving up with an error message saying there is not enough power. After much research and reading the Thinkwiki

Attiny85 timer programming using Timer1

This Arduino sketch uses Timer1 to drive the LED blinker: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 /* * Program ATTiny85 to blink LED connected to PB1 at 1s interval. * Assumes ATTiny85 is running at 1MHz internal clock speed. */ #include <avr/io.h> #include <avr/wdt.h> #include <avr/sleep.h> #include <avr/interrupt.h> bool timer1 = false , led = true ; // Interrupt service routine for timer1 ISR(TIMER1_COMPA_vect) { timer1 = true ; } void setup() { // Setup output pins pinMode( 1 , OUTPUT); digitalWrite( 1 , led); set_sleep_mode(SLEEP_MODE_IDLE); // Setup timer1 to interrupt every second TCCR1 = 0 ; // Stop timer TCNT1 = 0 ; // Zero timer GTCCR = _BV(PSR1); // Reset prescaler OCR1A = 243 ; // T = prescaler / 1MHz = 0.004096s; OCR1A = (1s/T) - 1 = 243 OCR1C = 243 ; // Set to same value to reset timer1 to