Infrared Sensor Data for Hal

I’m using an infrared range sensor for the real life Hal.
The Sharp GP2Y0A02YK0F – Infrared Proximity Sensor Long Range

Hal 1.0
Hal 1.0

While testing his motions, I was noticing some pretty erratic behavior, so I decided to collect some data on the sensor values on a fixed object, while Hal was not moving.

This is a graph of about a minute of Hal moving the sensor from 45 to 135 degress in front of him and then taking a reading when the motion of the sensor stops. It’s at a wall, at a slight angle so the graph lines aren’t on top of each other at about 45 centimeters away.

evadot_bot_sensor_line

My results for this sensor are not within the tolerances of being able to program him to to anything really interesting in an environment that isn’t really simple.

The good thing is that only once in this data would a “is this way further than that way” check be incorrect.  Then again, he isn’t even moving positions here.  The data is pretty erratic over a 1 minute period.

In reality, this is maybe not the correct sensor for this application.  Maybe an ultrasonic would be better.  Hal may have to have eye surgery.

Hal IS supposed to be a very inexpensive robot based solely on Arduino.  I don’t expect him to be able to do very complicated things, but I was hoping for a little better readings on a fixed object than what I’m getting.

“Significant” water on the moon

Some sites are talking about  a press conference being set up on Thursday to talk about what they are calling “Evidence of Water on the Moon – Lots of It”.
If you’re not a space geek, let me back up a second since NASA isn’t even on most people’s mind these days and fill you in on what’s going on.

The short short version.

We’ve had this space shuttle since the 1980’s.  Technologically amazing, but pretty boring from an exploration standpoint.  As a result, the fine folks at NASA have performed amazing feats of technological greatness and the public has met this with a collective “ho hum”.

In 2004, President Bush announced a pretty bold plan to phase out the Shuttle and reach towards returning to the moon by 2020. Programs are established, committees ensue, congress under-funds the whole thing and  5 years later, they are pretty behind. And by pretty behind I mean there is no freaking way it’s going to work.

President Obama commissions a committee headed by Norm Augustine, a longtime space industry player, to put together a group to evaluate the current state of the program.

To put it mildly, things don’t appear to be going well.

As a member of the general public, one might have caught a few minutes of the Senate Hearings on the matter last week and thought “uh oh.  Oh.  Wow, did she just say that?”.

As an advocate of space exploration, I was actually a little embarrassed by the whole thing.

So today, NASA would like 3 billion dollars a year MORE in funding to put their goal back on track.

All week, I’ve been hearing rumors about the President making an upcoming John F. Kennedy style epic call to return to space exploration.

I really, really want for us to return exploring space.

Bad.

But if this whole thing was a movie, this would be the part when the scientists all throw popcorn at the screen and cry “Oh, come on.” and “How convenient that they found water on the Moon right at that point.”

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but my BS radar just went into high gear. For starters, what exactly does “significant” mean?

Here’s to hoping I’m wrong.