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Real-time Control of Robots Using Intel ArchitecturePaper/scissors/rock robot that always responds to human partner with a winning handTo demonstrate the potential of the Intel® architecture in embedded systems applications, Soft Servo Systems, Inc. has used the latest Intel® architecture to create a robot capable of playing the paper/scissors/rock game. A camera on the robot determines the hand shape made by the human player and the robot responds with a winning hand within only 200 milliseconds. The robot system consists of a camera to capture the human's hand shape, a control box that analyzes the camera image and issues instructions telling the robot what to do, and a robot mechanism that forms the specified hand shape. Unlike past robots that are controlled using special hardware, a major feature of this system is that the robot mechanism is controlled entirely by the Intel® microprocessor in the control box (an Intel® Atom™ processor designed for embedded computing) together with the various software modules developed by Soft Servo Systems.
Software configuration combines Windows* with realtime OS
The control box runs both Windows* and a realtime OS as operating systems. The highest execution priority is given to the realtime OS processes to ensure a level of realtime performance equivalent to a conventional standalone realtime OS. Accordingly, execution of Windows* processes is entirely subordinate to the realtime OS. The paper/scissors/rock program runs under Windows*. The role of this program is to analyze the camera image to determine the hand shape made by the human player and then send a command to the motion control program (motion engine) running under the realtime OS instructing it to make the winning hand shape.The motion control program and EtherCAT* master run on the realtime OS. The motion control program generates robot movements to move the robot's hand smoothly to the shape specified by the paper/scissors/rock program. The EtherCAT* master handles communications between the control box and robot mechanism. EtherCAT* uses the Ethernet port included as a standard feature on PCs and is an open standard for high-speed servo networks for controlling machinery, robots, and other equipment.
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