The Lycoming Robotics "LycoBot" Robot is a unique educational tool, with the power of a research robot at an educational robot price.
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Lycoming Robotics "LycoBot"

LycoBot Hardware
The LycoBot is a differential-drive design (the wheels drive and steer), measuring about 6 inches (15 cm) square. The robot is powered by 4-6 AA batteries, or a 2-cell LiPo battery pack. The robot design includes numerous available sensors, and features a remarkably versatile co-processor.

The current LycoBot hardware configuration includes:
  • Two Faulhaber gearmotors with integral quadrature encoders. Encoders allow the user to precisely measure distance and make perfect radius turns
  • LCD display (several options are available) with a Lycoming Robotics serial LCD display board
  • Sharp GP2D12 Infrared range sensors (3) allow accurate distance measurement from about 4 inches to about 4 feet
  • Line sensor array (5 sensors) used for following a black or white line
  • 2 Bumper sensors
  • 2 CdS Photocells (light sensors)
  • 2 Infrared proximity sensors
  • 2 H-bridge motor drivers for reversible loads, like DC motors
  • Breadboard area for adding other sensors and components. Additional sensors are available for students to use in advanced classes.

The robot currently used in classes uses a Parallax BASIC Stamp microcontroller for all programmable functions. It is programmed in PBASIC, an easy to learn language. Future versions will use a microcontroller that is programmed in the very popular Arduino environment.


Unique Coprocessor
The custom Lycoming Robotics Coprocessor allows the main processor to offload many of its functions. This allows beginners to program their robots to sucessfully perform advanced activities.
The Lycoming Robotics Coprocessor board includes:
  • PIC microcontroller to handle communication and all of the coprocessing tasks
  • Dual H-bridge motor driver rated at 1.2 amps (continuous) per channel, with simple, full PWM control
  • 5 channel analog input header, specifically for the Line Sensor Array, but can be used for any analog input
  • 6 general purpose analog inputs, each with 3-pin headers for 5 v power and Ground, and a dedicated 1A voltage regulator for these inputs
  • 2 encoder inputs
  • Serial I/O header for communication with the outside world (9600 Baud)

The Lycoming Robotics Coprocessor firmware includes behind-the-scenes distance measurement and perfect radius turns.

Here are some program examples for using the Lycoming Robotics Coprocessor with the Parallax BASIC Stamp:

To go forward a distance of 500 encoder counts (about two feet):
distance = 500
GOSUB StrFwd
GOSUB CheckDone
These three lines tell the Coprocessor to drive both motors forward, continually check the encoders, and return when the distance is reached. You can also program your robot to perform other operations while the coprocessor is performing this operation. For example, your robot can check the distance sensors, operate a claw, or even play music while the Coprocessor is doing this task!

To check all of the infrared range sensors at one time, in order to measure the distances to any obstacles that may be within range, use this line of code:
GOSUB D12Read
It's that easy! This one line of code calls a subroutine that will check all range sensors and return with byte values in the D12R, D12F and D12L variables. You would then write a few lines of code to make your robot react to any obstacles within range.

To check all 5 sensors in the Line Array:
GOSUB LineArray
This line of code jumps to a subroutine that will ask the coprocessor to check all line array sensors. The coprocessor will return with ones or zeros to indicate whether each sensor sees black or white.


How do I get a LycoBot?
Local students have three options available for using a LycoBot:

1. Use the LycoBot in class or at the Lab. Until now this has been the only option available, and will still be available for any student who does not choose another option. Students can come to the Jersey Shore Lab during scheduled Open Lab hours to experiment with their robots outside of structured class time.

2. Rent a LycoBot robot for the class semester. The rental fee is $50 per class semester. This fee will cover normal "wear and tear" on the robot. The student/parent will be responsible to pay for damaged, broken, blown, or missing components.

3. Buy a LycoBot robot. Robots will be available for purchase as a complete, assembled robot, or you may buy a robot "ala carte" from a menu of available options (sorry, this component price list is not yet available). Existing students may purchase existing, refurbished robots at a discounted price. Please inquire about this option.
Online students may purchase a robot or robot components from our store (the store website is not available yet, sorry!).

Researchers and robotics hobbyists may also purchase a LycoBot robot or components from our online store. We will provide all of the documentation and sample code necessary to get your robot, coprocessor, serial LCD display or other components up and running!