Atmospheric Weather Tracking Bot

This is a simple robot example based on mbed. It uses RoboticsConnection's Traxster robot chassis, an mbed for main control, Serializer 2.0 as a TTL serial H-Bridge Motor Controller, and various sensors.

The Goal for the robot is to use a simple path planning algorithm using the 4 x IR Distance Sensors and a Compass IC to search through open spaces and gather data about Weather/Atmospheric Conditions. These data samples are collected with a GPS Location and Time stamp, and are added to a text file log on the SD card.

Traxster Atmospheric Bot

Parts List

  • mbed Micro-controller
  • Traxster Robot Kit
  • Serializer 2.0 (or greater)
  • BR-355 GPS
  • Phidget Light Sensor
  • 4 x Phidget IR Distance Sensor
  • Phidget Humidity/Temeprature Sensor
  • SCP1000 Barometric Pressure Sensor (and Temperature)
  • SparkFun Micro-SD Card Breakout Board
  • SparkFun PS/2 Breakout Board
  • 2GB Micro-SD Card
  • DIY Various Aluminum/Acyrlic Mounting Hardware
  • 7.2v Rechargeable Battery (1500Ah+)
  • LD1085V50 5v DC-DC Voltage Regulator

Not implemented:

  • GPS BR-355 is having some issues with TTL level serial output, so some quick testing and hardware logic may be added to correct signal
  • Time/Date Stamps in Log File
  • Simple Path Planning Algorithm using IR Distance and Compass (not installed, would be added as slave on the currently used SPI bus)
  • Google Maps plot of data points

Traxster Atmospheric Bot Top View

Traxster Atmospheric Bot Top View Zoom

Atmospheric Weather Tracking Bot v0.0.3 - Code

#include "mbed.h"
#include "scp1000.h"
#include "SDFileSystem.h"
#include "TextLCD.h"

Serial pc(USBTX, USBRX); // tx, rx
Serial gps(p9, p10);  // tx, rx
Serial serializerBoard(p28, p27);  // tx, rx .. Make sure to enable TTL serial on serializer Board

//SPI, I2C 
SDFileSystem sd(p11, p12, p13, p14, "sd");
TextLCD lcd(p21, p22, p23, p24, p25, p26, TextLCD::LCD16x2); // rs, e, d0-d3
SCP1000 scp1000(p5,p6,p7,p8);

AnalogIn humidty(p15); //Humidty
AnalogIn light(p16); //Light
AnalogIn irRear(p17); //IR Distance - Rear
AnalogIn irRight(p18); //IR Distance - Right
AnalogIn irLeft(p19); //IR Distance - Left
AnalogIn irFront(p20); //IR Distance - Front

int main() {
int n = 0;

mkdir("/sd", 0777);

//Write new file or append to existing document
FILE *fp = fopen("/sd/log.txt", "a");   //Append mode, adds to previous log entries
if(fp == NULL) {
    error("Could not open file for write\n");
//Document Header Information
fprintf(fp,"\n\nAtmosphere Bot!\nv 0.0.3\n");
lcd.printf("Atmosphere Bot!\nv 0.0.3\n");
fprintf(fp,"ECE 4180 Lab 3\n> Mike Cato\n\n");
lcd.printf("ECE 4180 Lab 3\n> Mike Cato\n");

fprintf(fp,"<--- Begin Log --->\n");

//Sample enviromental sensors
while(n<21){    //Take 20 samples before closing document
 lcd.printf("Today's Weather\n \n");
 //Write Data to SD Card
 fprintf(fp,"\nGPS Coordinate: LONG LATI ALTI\n");  //GPS Dummy Statement
 fprintf(fp,"Pressure: %f Pa\n",;
 fprintf(fp,"Temperature: %f C\n", scp1000.readTemperature());
 fprintf(fp,"Humidty: %f %\n", (double)((humidty)));
 fprintf(fp,"Light: %f lm\n", (double)(light*5*200));
 //Write Data to LCD
 lcd.printf("GPS:\nLON LAT ALT \n");    //GPS Dummy Statement
 lcd.printf("Pressure:\n%f Pa\n",;

 lcd.printf("Temperature:\n%f C\n", scp1000.readTemperature());

 lcd.printf("Humidty:\n%f %%\n", (double)((humidty)));

 lcd.printf("Light:\n%f lm\n", (double)(light*5*200));
 //Increment Sample Count
 //Optional Motor Drive Code Examples
  //Send Command
    serializerBoard.printf("blink 1:25");   //Blinks Serializer LED1 at speed 25
    serializerBoard.printf("mogo 1:45 2:45");   //Drives motors 1 and 2 and speed 45
 //Recieve ACK/NACK response (to verify command is accepted or declined)
    while(serializerBoard.readable()) {    //If data response from serizler
        pc.putc(serializerBoard.getc());    //Send Characters to Computer
  GPS Parsing Example
  GPS NMEA -> GGA format announcement are used for this application.
  This gives latitude, longitude, altitudem, and other useful information
  The BR-355 supports and prints out around 5 different NMEA formats
  So a quick script will be used to parse the input and look for the $GPGGA
  to appear starting by looking for '$' to appear on serial line
  Unfortunately this GPS has a strange output so further testing is
  needed before serial data can be read properly at TTL volttage levels.
  //gps.getc();     //Get Character
    fprintf(fp,"\n<--- End Log --->");
    //Close File


1 comment

05 Jan 2013

how is this a contest winner as an incomplete project?

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