The tentacle mechanism has come a long way since the last update. More LEDs, a better behaviour, and a mount for the electronics and wall. Plus some fun long exposure photos
Here is a video clip where you can see it in action:
Also, the tentacle mechanism appeared on the Adafruit Show and Tell-
Check it out here at the 2:55-7:06 mark!
The behaviour for the tentacle mechanism has been difficult to figure out.
Our fist attempt was to use the outputs to communicate how many times the button should be pressed. At first, it was fun, but then it just becomes confusing. Sort of similar to: ‘Why is this thing doing this thing, what can I do to change it?’. You can watch a video of this here.
The next attempt was to use the ultrasonic sensor, and have different actions for each distance threshold. There are also ‘mini-actions’ that occur from the changes between these distances. So when you are interacting with it, the ‘dances’ that the tentacle does will be similar, but the introduction to that dance, LEDs blinking, will be different.
But in the code, it’s more than controlling the robot. There are ‘debug’ statements where the robot is saying things. It gives some context as to what the robot thinks is happening.
So as you can see, this robot has some sort of creepy obsession with distance.
And it gets even more interesting when the human goes away:
As for actually displaying the text to the humans, it might be nice to have a tiny OLED display at some distance away from the robot, that only lights up after some amount of time of interaction. This way the humans will pay more attention to the tentacle moving at first, then notice the display and keep interacting.
What is all this ‘be’ functions about in the code? Those are the ‘mini-actions’, as mentioned above. They just blink the LEDs in certain patterns and such. In a future robot, this will be more involved with the social drives/mind/emotions.
Taking long exposures of the tentacle moving has been quite fun. Here are some of my favourites:
Working on documenting it, there were a lot of lessons learnt while building this!