It’s been a challenging few days (including a laptop crash, a time-consuming problem on our kitting production line, and various other distractions), but the week is ending well.
APL is a Marmite language, and I’m one of those who love it, so I was delighted to hear that Dyalog have ported their product to the Raspberry Pi.
They were equally delighted to realise that it would be easy for them to drive C3Pi from APL.
Since then we’ve been providing occasional advice as they forged ahead with their plans. They’ve built several clones of C3Pi, and are using the on-board Raspberry Pi as a high-level controller for the on-board Arduino which is doing the motor control.
Excitement has been mounting, and yesterday I heard that the Dyalog robot was moving under APL control.
Liam Flanagan of Dyalog has written an extension that allows APL on the Pi to control devices like the Arduino using I2C, and they’ve adopted and extended our trackbot software to allow them to control C3Pi’s direction and speed. The project has also been greatly helped by Dyalog’s Jason Rivers whose experience with model aircraft has been well applied to the challenges of robotics.
The two teams will be working together over the next few weeks to extend C3Pi’s capabilities. Next on the list is an IR proximity sensor that will stop the robot from bumping into things. After that we’ll be adding sonar, and soon C3Pi will get an on-board camera. This will initially be a webcam but we expect to replace that with the super new Pi-cam when that’s generally available.
We’ll also be merging the trackbot and quick2link codebases. The quick2link project is building a simple interpreter the runs on an Arduino or similar micro-controller and allows you to issue commands from other machines using serial communications, I2C or SPI. It’s perfect for the robot application but has other uses as well.
 For our non-UK readers: Marmite is a strongly-flavoured spread known to most Brits, who either love it or hate it.