Embedded Robotics – Embedded Systems Applications in Robotics

Introduction to Embedded Systems

The system in which dedicated purpose of software is embedded into a hardware design is known as embedded system. This system may be either an independent system or a larger system. The software usually gets embedded into memory modules as ROM, and it does not need any secondary memory as in a computer. Telecom, smart cards, missiles, computer networking, digital consumer electronics and satellites are some of the embedded systems applications.
Embedded Systems Applications
Embedded Systems Applications

Embedded systems applications include Robotics, digital camera, multi-tasking toys, cooking and washing systems, biomedical systems, key-board controllers, mobile & smart phones, computing systems, electronic smart weight display system and entertainment systems, such as videos, games, music system and video games, and so on.

Embedded system design process can be done by simulation first, which is used for testing the circuit because changing hardware becomes very difficult if the circuit malfunctions. If the results are matched with the desired ones, the process will be designed permanently by sequential wafer processes.

Basics of Embedded Systems

Embedded systems are designed to perform specific tasks, but cannot be used as general purpose computers to perform different tasks. The software for embedded system is normally referred to as firmware, which can be stored in a disc or in a single chip. The two main elements of the systems are:
  • Embedded System Hardware
  • Embedded System Software
Embedded System Hardware and Software
Embedded System Hardware and Software

Embedded System Hardware: An embedded system requires a hardware platform to interact with various real-time inputs and outputs or variables. The hardware includes controller like microcontroller or microprocessor, memory modules, I/O interfaces, display systems and communication modules, etc.

Embedded System Software: This software allows programming in a desired fashion such that it controls various operations. It is written in a high-level format, compiled into code, and then dumped into hardware controllers.

Real-time embedded systems are computer systems that perform the actions, such as monitoring, responding and controlling external movement. The external environment is connected to the computer system through sensors, actuators and I/O interfaces. A real computer system embedded with a computer system is known as real-time embedded system. A real-time embedded system is used in different fields such as military, government sectors and in medical.

Robotic Real Time Projects in Embedded Systems

Embedded systems can be used in many of the real-time applications such as automobiles, robotics, industries, etc. The following real-time projects are related to robotics technology.

1. Voice Controlled Robotic Vehicle with Long Distance Speech Recognition

The aim of this project is to control a robotic vehicle by voice commands for remote operation. An 8051 microcontroller is used with a speech recognition module to perform the desired operation. It uses an 8051 micro controller, a speech recognition module, a push button, an RF module, an encoder, a decoder, a motor-driver IC, DC motors, batteries and other miscellaneous components.
Voice Controlled Robotic Vehicle- Transmitter
Voice Controlled Robotic Vehicle- Transmitter

Vehicle movements like left, right, up and down can be performed by using push buttons or voice commands by a speech-recognition module which is interfaced with the microcontroller. Here, an encoder is used to encode the commands given to the microcontroller by using the RF transmitter to transmit the signals at the frequency of 433 MHz.

Therefore, when signals that emerge by pressing buttons, or the voice command signals corresponding to the movement are received by the micrcontroller, it sends control signals to the reciever circuit through the transmitter module.
Voice Controlled Robotic Vehicle-Reciever
Voice Controlled Robotic Vehicle-Receiver

Upon receiving these signals, An RF reciever transfers those signals to a decoder circuit wherein the binary data is converted into a micrcontroller-level signal. Therefore, the micrcontroller performs the desired movement from the transmitter circuit. Laser module is interfaced with the microcontroller for detecting the operations performed by the robot even in dark places.

2. Touch screen-based Remote Controlled Robotic Vehicle for Store Management

This project involves controlling a robotic vehicle using a touch-screen display unit for remote operation. A touch-screen panel is placed at the transmitter end, and a pick-n-place robot is placed at the receiver end to perform a task by responding to the signals. The hardware components used in this project include an 8051 microcontroller, a touch-screen panel, antennas (transmitter- receiver side), an encoder, a decoder, DC motors, a Robotic body, a battery, etc.

Touch Screen based Robotic Vehicle- Transmitter
Touch Screen based Robotic Vehicle- Transmitter

As discussed in the speech recognition module of the above project, in this project also a touch screen module sends the control signals corresponding to the vehicle movement to the microcontroller. The controller subsequently sends those signals to the encoder, and then to the transmitter that eventually transmits the signals to the receiver circuit.
Touch Screen based Robotic Vehicle-Receiver
Touch Screen based Robotic Vehicle-Receiver

The antenna placed at the receiver end receives the RF signals from the transmitting antenna, and decodes the data, and then sends that data to the microcontroller. This set up has four motors interfaced with the microcontroller: two motors for the movement of the arm and gripper and the other two for the movement of the body. All these motors are driven by a motor driver IC which continuously receives the commands from the microcontroller.

These are the two embedded systems applications in the field of robotics. The real-time examples of the embedded systems might have provided you with a better understanding of the concept of the embedded systems. If you have got any further doubts on implementing these projects, you can contact us by commenting below.

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Hi, I`m Sostenes, Electrical Technician and PLC`S Programmer.
Everyday I`m exploring the world of Electrical to find better solution for Automation. I believe everyday can become a Electrician with the right learning materials.
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