Friday, May 8, 2015

Hacking Robosapien Toy into a real robot

We got a toy called Robosapien.  It walks around, movies its arms, and makes noises.   It has a little battery powered thing they a call "the dongle" that plugs into the audio jack on your cell phone and makes IR signals.  Then you run an app and you can control the robot from your phone.

So we recorded the audio signal for each of the commands and then made our own app to generate these.   Our thinking was we could use the cell phone compass, acceleration sensors, gyros, camera, etc.   With vision we could do fun things like go toward a red ball, then hit it, then go find it again, etc.

Today was our first test.  The dongle has two red LEDs that light up when you do commands.   We could test our app and it did play the recorded sounds when we pushed our buttons, but the LEDs on the dongle did not light up and the robot did not move.  

We used Audacity to amplify the audio so it was as loud as it could be without distortion.  Still did not get anything.   Not sure yet why this does not work.

It turns out that there are audio files you can download to control WowWee toys.  This worked for us.  Both from App Inventor and from Java we can get our own software to control the toy!

Next to play with computer vision!

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