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Eye Module

RoboTronics | Projects

  • My module is aimed to give the robot personality and build character.  On this module, there are  two small screens portraying eyes that display pictures and show different emotions.  When I started designing this module, I had intended for it to be one larger display on the back of the robot.  This display would function as a smartphone and have all kinds of different apps on it that you could use.  As I started looking through the displays that I would actually be able to buy, I noticed that these kinds of displays are very expensive, and would have to run on a raspberry pi, (which we did not want.)  Soon, I started seeing really nice small screens, and I decided to do my eye idea.  The screens I ended up getting are 1.8 inches, and come with SD cards.  With the help of our app, you are able change the eyes of the robot by uploading new pictures.  These pictures have to be a certain size and number of pixels, but if they are, it is a simple process to get them on to the displays. The main reason for creating these displays was to have a module that connected the human to the robot.  All of the other modules were purely mechanic and had very specific purposes, but they didn’t let the robot show emotion.  The display module also lets you personalize the robot which might make it more appealing.  There are several major components to my module, the most important being the displays.  Each display is mounted on three pieces of wood.  The first layer of wood had spots cut out for the chips and the header, as well as an open end for access for the SD card.  The second layer has a hole hut for the header, and the third layer is the same.  Each layer also has a space cut out in the middle to make room for the t-nuts.  When the displays are attached to the stack, 10 wires soldered to the header lead down to a small solder breadboard, which is connected to the arduino.  When you put a command into the app, the robot will say what you want it to.  I started watching and reading all of the adafruit tutorials on how to use my display and how to wire it up.  The wiring was pretty complicated, so it took me a while to do that.  When it was finished, I started looking at how to put the photos onto the display.  When I figured out how, I started testing everything out.  The photos that fit onto the display had to be a certain number of pixels and a certain size so as I started choosing photos. I had to resize them and set them to the correct number of pixels.  I played around with that for a long time, and then started thinking about what I was going to do if my screen couldn’t play animations.  I decided that I would just make a gif of an eye blinking and display that.  The eye had to be drawn, so that was the next task.  I used a wacom tablet to trace my eye.  This worked very well, and looked really good when I was finished.   My main challenge was the display wiring.  There was a lot of work for me to do, but mainly I had to solder a strip of ten wires to a header.  It was just busy/repetitive work.  A  couple times one wire git cut short or burned up, and I had to redo everything.  When the displays were finished, we had to place them on the robot.  In the design we have, the modules come together to a mailbox like shape.  At first I thought that I would mount the displays on top of the front boards, and then I decided that I would put them inside of the wood.  I cut out a bunch of different models that were supposed to fit onto the displays, but they all had a little something wrong with them.  All had holes in the wrong places, and two didn't have enough room for the chips.  The holes were also to big for the screws, (the screws stayed in but they didn’t bite into the wood.)  I decided to remove the holes altogether, and manually make the holes when screwing down the display.  With all these new dimensions, I recut everything to fit.  As I assembled the new pieces, I noticed that the metal t-nuts were close to touching the back of the display.  If they did touch, the display would have shorted out.  To fix this, I took a piece of tape and stuck it to the back of each t-nut.