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Revisiting WiMo - The Windows Mobile Robot

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Brian Cross is, like, really smart. That's what I've decided.
 
He woke up one day and felt like building a robot...
 
...so he did.
 
He's come along way from his early attempts, and he now has multiple hardware platforms which all tie into a single brain. That brain is a Bluetooth-enabled Windows Mobile SmartPhone. There's also some stuff that runs on a PC which was built with some of the Robotics bits that are available with Microsoft Robotics Studio.
 
Brian uses the phone to direct the actions of the robots, as well as handle things like communications and image acquisition (yeah - these robots, like the various probes we've launched into space, like to send images back).
 
I was floored by what I saw. And, for those of you who like what you see here, Brian has posted directions on the official WiMo site which describe how to build a robot similar to the one you'll see in the video.
 
It's amazing what you can do with a computer, a phone, and a couple hundred bucks nowadays.

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  • Wow, that is one of the best videos I have seen in a while, and Brian does seem really smart, as well as nice. I am looking on ebay right now for smartphones and I intend on creating a wimo either out of a mindstorms kit or my roomba. Thanks for the video!
  • This video is way cool. I am definitely building one. Question on the video stream though; are you actually grabbing a stream from the camera or just repeatedly taking snapshots?

  • First of all... everyone here is way too kind Smiley

    Yes, the "stream" is not really a stream... it is a series of images.  I may look into adding the ability to do a real stream as well later. 


  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Hi Brian.  Cool stuff.  I got a Mindstorm for Xmax, but must wait to open it Expressionless  I will post a vid when done and using my T-Mobil Dash ontop.  I used to be into R/C also.  Question.  For the R/C car, how do you bypass the R/C receiver to get direct control of the servos?  Where do the servers on the car plug into? TIA
  • staceyw wrote:
    Hi Brian.  Cool stuff.  I got a Mindstorm for Xmax, but must wait to open it Expressionless  I will post a vid when done and using my T-Mobil Dash ontop.  I used to be into R/C also.  Question.  For the R/C car, how do you bypass the R/C receiver to get direct control of the servos?  Where do the servers on the car plug into? TIA


    That's great to hear!  The Lego NXT is a very fun kit.  They are also coming out with more sensors and addons for it, so it should get even better!  Can't wait to see what you come up with!

    As for the R/C car... I don't the receiver at all (it's still in the truck, but nothing hooked up to it).  The microcontroller that i am using (OOPic) has logic to control servos (up to 16 on that particular model) quite easily.  So then the Smartphone talks to the microcontroller and tells it to set various values (depending on if you want to turn or go forward or in reverse, etc) to the servos. 

    the OOPic is a pretty neat (and easy to program) microcontroller if you've ever wanted to play with one... granted, it is the only one i've worked with so far, but i have a couple others i'm going to play with as well. 

    Let me know if you have any other questions!
      -- Brian
  • Very cool! Your site is great Brain, cool that you actually took the time to put it all together.

    I actually have an old ipaq lying around that I might use for it. (luckily Christmas is still coming up Wink)
  • mixelz wrote:
    Very cool! Your site is great Brain, cool that you actually took the time to put it all together.

    I actually have an old ipaq lying around that I might use for it. (luckily Christmas is still coming up )

     

    Thanks!  Hope you find it useful... I hope to post an update to the source code in the next couple of weeks.  Should bring it up to the latest Microsoft Robotics Studio.  Also need to make sure that all the parts for my Aggressor WiMo are still available...

    As for your IPAQ... If you get a bluetooth module for it, you might be able to do some fun stuff.  Let me know if anything turns out from that!

    -- Brian

  • ybdybd
    Great video. really impressive. Do you know when is voice command api going to be available. Also, whats the easiest way to stream video instead of taking series of snapshots, are there any native sample applications for stream video from a smartphone.
  • ybd wrote:
    Great video. really impressive. Do you know when is voice command api going to be available. Also, whats the easiest way to stream video instead of taking series of snapshots, are there any native sample applications for stream video from a smartphone.


    I do not have a date for when the voice command apis will be available, the second i know (and i can say Smiley ) I'll make sure to spread the cheer! 

    As for the video... There are other (and better) ways to actually stream video, I just haven't researched them myself.  I am using DirectShow to capture the snapshots, so it is just a matter of hooking up or creating the correct DirectShow filters.  It is something I want to look into doing for Wimo, especially for the "remote control" mode.   I still need to at least make the capturing of snapshots faster (just hasn't been high on the list for wimo... but due to the filter that i am using, i still have to save the image to flash before i can send it across the network... that makes is much slower).

    I'll look to see if there are native examples for streaming video using DirectShow.  If you are familiar with DirectShow, it works very similarly to the desktop version of DirectShow. 

    Also, just a general update, I should have another wimo code update in the next week or two that will bring the source up to the Microsoft Robotics Studio 1.0 release (Wimo currently uses the June CTP).   I'll post a comment here, at the Windows Mobile blog, and at the Wimobot site when i upload the source code update. 

    - Brian
  • ybdybd
    Thanks for your response. Just one more question. I am using the 'Cameracapture' pocket pc sample application. It creates an asf file using the following statement. Can you tell me how to send data to an embedded media player instead of a file.

    CHK( m_pCaptureGraphBuilder->SetOutputFileName( &MEDIASUBTYPE_Asf, L"\\video1.asf", &pASFMultiplexer, &pFileSinkFilter ));

  • ybd:
    I haven't transmitted the video/image data directly yet.  it is something i will be working on soon, but don't have the answer to right now.  Currently i save the image to flash and then transmit the file (painfully slow, but works with the standard filters and whatnot). 


    Also:

    I updated the source code on the www.wimobot.com last week. 

    Some of the changes in this latest update are:

    • It now works with Microsoft Robotics Studio 1.0
    • Hardware is now abstracted in the Wimo device binary so that it is easier to add new Wimo hardware platforms (I have 5 now!)
    • Online documentation is more complete (but still more to do)
    • Can use the Windows Mobile device as a Serial Conduit.  Allowing you to pass serial data through wifi/bluetooth onto the microcontroller
    • Multiple components can listen and interact with the microcontroller.
    • Can use the Microsoft Robotics Studio's Visual Programming Language to drag and drop the Wimo service.
    • And much much more. (ha! couldn't resist Smiley   ). 

    Have fun!  Keep the questions coming if you have any!

      -Brian

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