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The other side of the two sided development coin ... Financial

Hi All, (And team who I’ll rely on to put this where it best fits … hopefully not a trash can)

Firstly, and most importantly, if you weren’t lucky enough to make the Austin expo, it was a wonderful opportunity not to be missed in the future.

For me, a half hour alone with Justin accomplished more than a day and a half alone with the documentation.

Equally important, it added confidence that my multi-thousand dollar expenditure would be the gateway to a McDonald’s-like platform. Not leave me with a very expensive LimeScooter-like flash in the pan,

Not a trivial distinction, I think, because where Lime Scooters was once a uniquely amazing financially viable idea, today its scooters are just aging equipment lost among the clutter of at least a half dozen Austin scooter companies.

Heck, I’m even old enough to remember Carrols … who first introduced 15 cent burgers, 10 cent fries and 25 cent shakes that fueled my multi-days wanderings during summer vacation from high school… long before McDonalds existed. But today, if it exists at all, is a run down left over that was run over by McDonalds. It’s not who is first with a better mouse trap … it is who holds on to being first. Me thinks anyway.

The rest is a plea for help (probably for rainy day reading).

For what it’s worth, I believe that having sunk a couple thousand each into our Misty, we all have a vested interest in making sure Misty becomes THE commercial quality platform of the future.

I.e. to be sure that Misty grabs this market the way Starbucks grabbed overpriced coffee … to the point there’s no use in anyone else trying to start a competitor anymore.

Because as wonderfully as Misty is conceived, and has been developed to date, it isn’t yet ready for use by companies who have the big bucks Misty needs to enhance Misty MXXI till Misty is the true descendant of

"The Class M3 Model B9 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot, a.k.a.known M3-B9 G.U.N.T.E.R"
that inspired Misty’s creator as well as many more of my generation.

Therefore I have one suggestion for the Misty Team at the next Robotics expo, and one plea for help from other Misty owners.

Suggestion For Misty Team:
Hey Team! No guts. No glory. So think
… Kids play games on the floor with toys.
…Execs of companies with Big Bucks to spend work on desk tops.
… Cabinet Makers’ work at bench top level.
…Beer is best drunk at tables.
… Every other vendor at the expo showed their wares standing up at table level. Etc.

AND … the video that sold me on Misty was of Misty traveling down a RAISED platform along side her creator. … Not traipsing along the floor!

So put some legs on the little sharp edged platform you put on the floor in Austin. And raise it to grown up level.

I mean I watched Misty for at least a total of 45 minutes, and it didn’t miss that sharp edge once.

And well … please pardon me for insensitivity … but if you don’t have enough confidence in Misty to stay on that sharp edged platform yet … maybe Misty isn’t ready for distribution. But that’s just me.

Question For Fellow Owners:

There is no denying that there’s a BIG DRAW, and BIG MONEY in sports, i.e. competition. So can anyone help me come up with a competition among Misty’s?

I mean I can’t find any autonomous robot competition. Can you?

Battle Bots fills an arena, but its really just remote controlled machines. Boxing Bots are the same thing. Cool, but not autonomous.

And of course it has to be a non-destructive. Like modeled on the Laser Tag games in arena’s I’ve seen in malls.

However, my problem is everything I can think of – like a game modeled on Laser Tag – requires that Misty be able to pin point its location in say a 25’ circular arena (think like a hockey rink) .

And I can’t yet find a way to augment Misty with any location sensor that can do that … track it’s own X-Y position in real time, and transmit it to a central server all contestants can access.

Can anyone point me in a useful direction. I’m sure it will require third party sensors but maybe if they can be added to backpacks a bar could buy the packs and provide an arena where owners could rent the packs for an “event”. (With prizes provided by the bar owner)

But first … I need to find anyway Misty can pinpoint its location in a fixed arena. Any suggestions?

Happy Trails.

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honestly I did not read some of the text in your post. perhaps in the future split it into shorter, more narrow scope posts?

The laser tag idea is fun. One other robot that is purpose-built for such a style of competition is The RoboMaster S1 – Intelligent Educational Robot – DJI

Assuming that the robots are moving on a floor of constant height, one method for fast pose tracking is overhead cameras that filter unique “hats” on the robots. One popular example of this is in RoboCup (RoboCup Small Size League).

It appears that the Misty Team has already thought of that and there is a competition, and the deadline is the end of this week! I am working on my submission, but the competition is tough, not sure I will survive. Presently, my imagination exceeds my programming skills.

The challenges have gone from Hello World, to Obstacles, to Dance Off…I am sure they are going to be getting much harder as time goes on.

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Hi Arron,

Thank you for the information.

And you are Right.

I guess I just failed to distinguish between competition among programmers, like a dance-off, and autonomous robots competing directly with each other.

A small distinction I know. But an important one I think.

So for me, right now, everything I can dream up requires that Misty be able to keep track of its exact location and transmit it to a central “referee” server.

I think the ability of Misty to independently track multiple targets is a long way away.

But … if each Misty kept track of its own location, websockets seems a fine solution on the server side for sharing it among all competitors. And reading multiple targets that publish their location is logically identical in result to being able to track multiple targets directly.

Regardless … like you, my dreams always exceed my grasp. So
Program well,
Hope you win

George

Hi Scott,

Like every 2 year old “I know that” … “that” being I should keep separate questions separate. grin … but in keeping with that analogy … I didn’t. I’ll try harder next time.

None the less … one key problem remains: How to provide a way for Multiple Mistys to track multiple other Mistys in real time.

I looked at the soccer game, and don’t think the Big Brother approach works at Misty’s state of development.

A) it uses a single proprietary system with centralized planning and control: Whereas I’m betting distributed tracking would be infinitely easier. I.e. where each Misty tracks itself and just reports its position (websockets) to a “referee” servers shared by all players.

B) I don’t like the Big Brother approach, because it’s too big and cumbersome. First it restricts players to the Git Hub Group’s arena – I suspect to intentionally restrict control and ownership of their sole source system. And second, as you can see in the site’s warning, that group’s controllers have recently made unilateral changes to the system and its rules that further restrict development and participation). I’ve seen too many awful results from groups submitting to unrelated 3rd parties who sell them proprietary stuff. So for me that takes it off the list.

On the other hand, Misty’s goal is to distribute development. Isn’t it?

And I believe that is better served by finding a way to augment Misty to track its own position in an arena, and reporting it to a central server via websockets. Then letting all competitors read it. Every robot tracking multiple moving targets is something for Star Wars I think. Each Misty tracking it’s own position seems infinitely simpler. And therefore, doable.

But miles to go before I sleep.

E.g. I remember seeing a 4 cardinal direction laser-based distance measurement sensor for robots for for a couple hundred dollars that is almost, but not, enough to position Misty.

So the ideal would be two small radio beacons with back pack sized receivers able to maintain the angular direction to them. That would allow accurate calculation of Misty’s X-Y location … and the rest would be a lot of polar geometry and coding.

So, for example, a bar owner could invest a few thousand in several back packs with the required sensors … and two “target” beacons that would allow X-Y positioning. Then host a money prize tournament type competition open to every one (or teams) who showed up with their own Misty.

But first … can anyone offer any suggestions for where to find such beacons … and receivers that can accurately tell their angular direction … that could be built into a back pack … that was universally usable by all Misty bots?

Otherwise, I’ll post if I find any solution I find … if I find one.

I feel we need to figure out how to design and attach a variety of different types of arms for Misty. After that would come autonomy. Something along the lines of the robot getting bored after a set amount of time and seeking out humans. Perhaps we could store some of this in the cloud?

Just as an FYI. This was the first time we did this demo, and the reason for putting the platform on the ground was to show that she was capable of detecting an edge on a lip she could safely drive over without tipping. We thought it would be meaningful for people to see that there is a safety buffer between her drive capability and her edge detect capability. IE she would definitely catch any edge she could NOT safely drive off. We just didn’t drive her off frequently enough to demonstrate that well enough. In our post-conference debriefing we had already decided to forgo the “driving off” aspect in the future and raise it up on to a more visible level (likely putting it on a table). :slight_smile: Anyway, just FYI.

As for localization…

based on your comments you do not want to use Misty’s built-in SLAM equipment, but would rather have something external. I know there are ultrasonic beacons that can be employed indoors with fairly good results. Such as:

Here is a PDF they posted at robotshop.com that gives some detail into the technology:
https://www.robotshop.com/media/files/pdf2/__marvelmind_precise_indoor_gps_online_v19.pdf

I did not dig in deep enough to know whether this works exactly for your use case, but it seems like it could. I know this isn’t the only manufacturer that makes beacons like this as well, and I know there are others that use bluetooth or other RF mediums for their beacons.

Hi Steven,

They say great minds travel similar paths. And my own searching led me to the exact same item you suggested.

The only difference is that no matter how hard I search that is the only thing even close to my needs.

I just haven’t yet been able to find the other half. I mean a beacon sends a signal. But I still need a receiver to receive it.

Anyway … I’m going to take your suggestion and turn this into a single issue more focused topic. Maybe under the Skills heading rather than development, because I’m thinking Development should be reserved for issues on which the development team needs to work on to improve the platform, and my goal is a Skill or set of Skills that can be implemented by augmenting Misty’s back pack with outside hardware (Some day I’ll learn how to spell Aduarno or whatever … just not today.

Thanks for you help. And maybe see you on the other side (in a new single issue Skill topic posting.).