Rover bot, going full geek

This independence day weekend was a little different. For the last decade my lovely wife and I would normally be putting our all into helping with a fireworks shoot celebrating the 4th. This would usually entail working 12 hour days on the 2nd, 3rd, and the 4th. Then spending the morning of the 5th walking the fall out field at first light. Not this year. I bowed out and spent the holiday at home Geeking out on my rover bot project. Oh, we went to watch the fireworks, only this time we were with the crowd, rather than on ground zero with the pyro crew.
I have mixed feelings about this decision, I missed working with the crew, but I got to relax. I am taking this year off from pyro. My main reason is that I do not want to suffer the same burnout I went through with rocketry. Too much of a good thing will burnout anyone. The minor reason would be that I would give up time with my lovely wife. Due to the timing of the holiday, she wouldn’t be able to help with the show. But it did give me time to do some robot work.

On the rover bot front, I made a great stride with understanding how to use a little device that I have been struggling with for a while now. Xbee radios are almost magical devices. They are radio modems that are about the size of your toenail. It took me a while to get mine configured, and a great deal longer to use one with Mac OS. But it’s done and working. The radios work in pairs. I have one on my rover bot, and the other connected to a USB port on my Mac.

The whole reason I wanted to get these xbee radios connected to my rover bot is for diagnostic purposes. I needed to see what was going on in it’s little computer brain “Arduino”. But I needed to have it roaming around, this is difficult with a 3′ USB cable attached. Xbee radios have a range of about 100′ indoors. Now that this system is connected and working, I get live data from my little rover bot anywhere in the house. Full geek.
The possibilities are nearly endless, I can also send data to my rover bot from my Mac as well. I wonder if there is an iPad app for this?


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