A long time ago, before I knew anything about real robotics, I worked with my friend Matt Lipsman on a robot named "Chip". This robot was built out of some unknown kind of plastic toy parts, and stood about 3.5 feet tall. Using scavenged electronic gadgets and plenty of scotch tape, we put tons of crap on it.
During my senior year of high school, I took my first
major leap into the world of robots and embedded systems. The result of this
effort was the Chip II project. While technically
a failure in terms of achieving a functional and flexible robotics platform,
the project was a huge success in other areas. Most of my current knowledge
of building mobile robot systems came out of this project, and also a very
good baseline of what is and isn't a good approach to things. Despite
relatively basic electronics, with messy and poorly documented wiring, most of
the real problems with Chip II were mechanical. Though I did fairly well for
my only power tools being a handheld power drill and a handheld jigsaw, one
may easily notice just how crooked and misaligned this robot's construction is.
In addition, the drivetrain is grossly underpowered for hauling around its 40lb
weight on anything but smooth tile.
"Chip III" will be constructed with the same design philosophy as the last one. Building a general purpose platform for mobile robotics. However, this time I'm looking at it as a long-term project. While I built "Chip II" as a dedicated project over the course of just under a year, I fully expect "Chip III" to take several years to complete. This is because it will be a lot more complicated, a lot more carefully designed, and I can no longer dedicate the same amount of my time to it. However, I expect the final result to fully realize the goals I had when I originally set out on my first project, as well as be modular and upgradable to meet future goals.
My tools and equipment