Saturday, April 12, 2008

Micromouse contest - MINOS 08 - report 2

Today was mostly talks and presentations. There were a couple of 'practice' sessions where we took the opportunity to take some shots of a full size maze using the robots camera for off-line processing. A full maze is 16x16 cells and measures 2.88m square - so it's a bit big for my house. (We have a 5x5 practice maze).

There were talks on accelerometers, intelligent mice, chassis design, another paper on machine vision (but done very differently from ours), basic mouse design and many other interesting topics with much food for thought thrown in. There seems to be a lot of details to building a really good mouse - something that isn't apparent on the surface.

My talk went well (Alan tells me) and we got some good ideas including some names of some useful image processing algorithms and a later talk (by Tony Wilcox) reminded us that we could use programmable logic plus fast memory to remove, effectively, the CMUcam3 from our design (which we use for processing and the FIFO). Strangely we had talked about that and dropped the idea in favour of the a FIFO/second micro. I guess, although a lot of programmable logic is in-circuit programmable, I was more comfortable (and thought I could work quicker) with standard code. Today's presentation - and our vision work over the last few weeks - might have changed my mind.

However, we are not going to do that immediately - the algorithms are the same whether we have a processor doing them or programmable logic. However it would give us a solution for any slow processing speed we come up against - since we could do the capture AND at least the first two image processing algorithms (bitwise filter and red extract) in hardware on the programmable logic. It might even mean we had power to process a higher resolution camera.

Hopefully more tomorrow.


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