PC Based Robosapien Controller – Continued

Here’s what the ‘finished’ remote control looks like-


As of this afternoon (Saturday, February 26th), everything is up and running. Integrating the USBUIRT API and DLL code into the VB6 application I built to control my Robosapien went much smoother than I had expected. The package that Jon provides for developers doesn’t include much in the way of documentation – but I have to say that it doesn’t really need it. The sample code is logically structured and includes extensive comments. It was very straightforward to figure out what was going on, and to strip out the parts that were not necessary for my application.

One additional feature, hacked together today, are the indicator ‘leds’ that show the USBUIRT status and indicate when it’s transmitting. I retained the actual USBUIRT status parameters, but moved them to the About page. After everything seemed to be running, I spent about an hour playing around testing the application. It was really a blast – almost like rediscovering the Robosapien all over again for the first time.

I certainly enjoyed playing with Robosapien when I first brought him home. Still, I was a little frustrated by the standard remote control, and its learning curve. Back then, I was trying to get him to move forward, or turn, or raise one of his arms, but to do that I had to figure out where the buttons were, and I often had to deal with the multi-level command sequence – press the select button, one or two times, then the function you want Robosapien to perform. Unless you happen to be a quick study, it’s easy to get confused and frustrated. Mark Tilden and the other designers did an excellent job – no question – but trying to jam 62 functions into a low cost remote control in a simple, easy to understand and use way is a tremendous challenge.

What I found today with the PC based remote control was that it is much, much easier to run Robosapien through his paces. One button, one push, and immediately he goes off and does exactly what you tell him to. I found myself spending a lot more time observing what he was doing rather than spending it trying to figure out the remote control buttons. And, in a few minutes, I was playing ‘what if’ games with him. Seeing how he moved, and predicting his movements for a sequence of commands. Really cool.

Next step: Use this as a front end for the choreography program.


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