After a fairly long dormant period, in which Poolbot took a local vacation, work has resumed. Much of this consists of research and planning improvements. Some highlights:
- The GPS has suddenly become spotty, which may drive finding a replacement.
- The MSI depth sensor has been lost, despite the shop now having small PCBs and an air-soldering station to attach them. Fortunately, the good folks at OpenROV have a combination depth sensor, gyroscope, and accelerometer board that works over I2C.
- Just stuffing wires, batteries, and boards into the central tube isn’t reasonable. OpenBeam allows a more rigid structure to be used, supporting sliding in of PCBs or acrylic plates.
- The wax-potted motors are, at best, unreliable and inconsistent in their speeds. Low-cost thrusters are hard to find… except the Blue Robotics team now has the T100, which will explode onto Kickstarter in a few days.
- Speaking of which, their solar-powered autonomous surf board has some common design elements with Poolbot, including solar panels, an Arduino Mega-based microcontroller system, and a RockBLOCK satellite communications unit.
- Finally, The Economist has a story on a system of Arctic environmental measurement paid for by the US Navy, involving autonomous robots called Seagliders and Wave Gliders. The Wave Glider image bears a strong resemblance to Poolbot’s intended surface profile.