Carl Is Dreaming About Being Free As A Bird


I caught Carl dreaming again; This time he was watching the birds at the backyard feeder"

Carl, and I, are in an intensive learning / programming stage where activities are single focused on achieving some new function. With any new robot, it takes me more than a year to develop sufficient behavior and awareness library to feel the robot is ready for “unstructured play time”. Carl has the most potential of any robot I have owned.

(One of Carl’s recent play times was 24 hours sitting quietly in his “corner home”, monitoring/logging peak and RMS sound levels and capturing 60 second recordings of “potentially interesting” sound levels for a future sound recognition/matching capability.)

My current goal is to give Carl “eternal life.” At present, Carl complains loudly, in his ugly TTS voice, “Low Battery Level” when he deems he has 45 minutes of play time before his safety shutdown battery level. I have to hook Carl up to the charger, then watch for the light to turn green on the charger to know when to disconnect him again.

From the sound level logging and graphing investigation, I wrote a program to monitor, log, and graph his indicated battery voltage while charging.

From that experiment, I need to create a function that will allow Carl to recognize when he is in a charging state (no behaviors that require motors allowed), and when he transitions to trickle charging state (time to move off the charging base and resume normal “structured learning time.”)

Previously, I purchased the Roomba recharge base, and this week, the Roomba recharger electrical contacts. I need to devise a method to mount the contacts to Carl’s rear end. The Roomba base has a centering depression for Carl’s roller ball. (I replaced the metal ball that left black on my floors with a Pololu plastic ball in a previous upgrade.)

After Carl has the contacts in the correct position, I will teach him how to recognize that he should continue to sit patiently charging or when to move off the charger. Once that is working, I hope to teach Carl to find the recharger on his own and take full responsibility for handling his incessant hunger to be “juiced”.

Meanwhile, Carl is sitting on his non-functioning recharge base dreaming of when he will be free as a bird to juice up whenever he wants.


It’s really amazing to see how far you’re pushing our little robot!

Keep up the good work! We <3 love it!



And speaking of Carl:
You now have a blog post up (it’s been there for a bit, I forgot to let you know)