This project consists in building an autonomous robot capable of mapping out a room.
To do so, we need a robotic platform containing motors and wheels. It also needs to be able to carry a Raspberry Pi board and different sensors, one of which will be a laser rangefinder. The laser will be an already built unit capable of taking measures on 360 degrees. Additionally, the whole project had to be developed in the Open Innovation mindset. In order to build our project in accordance to this valorization, we made our code available on internet and chose open hardware components to build our robot.
The components used are the following:
- Scanner Laser 360° RPLIDAR
- Triple Axis Magnetometer Breakout - HMC5883L
- Ultimate 4tronix Initio (robotic platform)
- Raspberry Pi model B+
To build ArchiBot, we divided our team in two parts, 3 SE students worked on the hardware and 2 SI students worked on the software. The hardware team was responsible of building the robot, meaning connecting all pieces of hardware and making sure they were all working fine as separate units or as a system. They were also responsible of programming the basic functionalities of the robot making use of the hardware (controlling the motors, the laser…). On the other hand, the SI team was in charge of programming the software responsible for the mapping and the artificial intelligence deciding how to move the robot. In a nutshell, the work of the SE was making sure we could control the robot and get the outside information while the SI were responsible for putting the information together and deciding what actions to take.
Although the final users of this product will be architects and other building workers, our direct clients would be the resellers. That is why we had to consider our whole ecosystem and grow according to it. The environment in which ArchiBot was developed consists in two groups, the architect communities (building workers) and the raspberry pi community. These different groups soon became the heart of the project. In order to have an end product, we had to bring the two communities closer. To do so, we stayed as much as possible in contact with both.
Concerning the raspberry pi community, we communicated with them through their forums. Since the start of the project we have been present on their platform so as to share with them news about the development of ArchiBot, have some feedback, and help when we needed it.
On the other hand, the communication with architect companies was more complicated. They do not really have any presence on the internet, so interactions with companies that could be interested was limited and difficult to achieve. In order to have better feedback, we tried to mail and call them to give them a questionnaire to answer.
To bring both communities together, we had the idea of creating a website where both could find information about the team and the project. This website was used as a symbol to show both parties were interested in such a project.