Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

More Tutorials and Rule Based Programming

I found another source for tutorials this week. Steve Norris offers tutorials of his projects on his website at (look down the right side for navigation)

His tutorials look to be a little more advanced, but are cool to investigate even if you don’t plan on doing them. I discovered Steve’s work through an article from Popular Mechanics, 5 Homemade Robots That Offer Hope for DIY Geeks (With Video)

What interests me the most about his work is how he programmed rules into one of his robots.  His rules aren’t as complex as Asimov’s but create interesting results.  One such result Steve achieved was a graceful three point turn which was established by programming the robot to follow 3 rules:

  1. Always look at what it’s tracking
  2. Always move toward what it’s tracking
  3. If it gets too close to what it’s moving toward, back away.

As you can see none of those rules has anything to do with 3 point turns yet they have sophisticated consequences.

I have witnesses rule based programming create significantly more sophisticated results then intended in other application as well and am interested in investigating this further.  There are a few components that are necessary for rule based programming.  First of you have to have sensory input.  Second, you must have a programed response to that incoming data.

Another example of this is is the following tutorial on how to Build a (simple) balancing robot.  The robot achieves balance by applying a rule, which is to maintain the distance between the ground and a sensor mounted on the bottom of the robot. If the distance is too close the robot makes a corrective movement.  If the distance is too far, once again a corrective motion is made and the robot holds itself up.

If anyone knows other examples of rule based programming and related tutorials, please comment them to this post.