Project image
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CA$ 3,379
pledged of CA$ 12,000pledged of CA$ 12,000 goal
29
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, July 16 2015 1:46 PM UTC +00:00
CA$ 3,379
pledged of CA$ 12,000pledged of CA$ 12,000 goal
29
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, July 16 2015 1:46 PM UTC +00:00

About

The SSC [Smart Servo Controller] is the perfect addition to your robotics tool kit. Hobbyists and and Professionals alike can benefit from its ease of use and powerful features.

What is the SSC?

The SSC is designed to be a building block used to implement complex control logic and motion algorithms without having to write any code. It can be used to expand the functionality of your existing robotic projects or be the platform for a new project.

The goal of the SSC is to allow you to spend less time coding and more time creating. The SSC can integrate into existing projects. It will work in conjunction with PIC, Arduino and other microcontrollers or be used independently.

The SSC was created with the DIY community in mind and will be made open source once the project gets funding. 

Give me a brief overview of what the SSC can do.

The SSC works by evaluating rules that the user creates. Up to 256 rules can be created. The rules are run independently and the results are summed together on the output channels. There are 4 different types of rules: Output State, Linear Map, Sequence and PID. Each rule can have any number of conditions attached to it. These conditions determine if the rule is allowed to be run or not. Using rules provides an intuitive way to program complex control algorithms.  

SSC has 8 configurable inputs and 14 configurable outputs. The input types are: Analog, Servo, Pulse and Digital. The outputs types are: Digital, PWM, Servo, High speed PWM and Low speed PWM. The system can be set to use 5 volt or 3.3 volt logic.

They key to the SSC is flexibility. With a powerful and re-configurable design the SSC can be used in many applications. Configuring is done through an intuitive user interface.

Why did you create SSC?

I came up with this project after building a little robot that I wanted to make dance. I made the robot out of some old servos, pieces of wood and plastic that I had laying around. I connected all the servos up to a microcontroller and programmed it so the different servos could be moved with commands from a computer. I was soon stumped. How can I make my robot move and dance around while keeping my sanity? I didn't want to write code for every single movement I wanted the robot to do. Sadly the robot sat on the shelf waiting and waiting.

Having used 3D animation and video FX software I was familiar with graph editors and timelines. Then it dawned on me. If I can make a computer animation of a robot move around using a graph editor, Why couldn't I make a real robot move using similar techniques?

The idea for the Smart Servo Controller was born. After many many hours of designing and programming I am ready to share my idea with the world. Hopefully this will allow others to dust off their robots old and breath new life into them.

Technical Details

The device has 8 inputs and 14 outputs that can be configured for different type input and output types. The operating voltage can be change from 3.3v to 5v for compatibility with other electronics.

The board runs from a 5 volt power supply. A selector switch sets the input and output operating voltage. There are disconnects that allow the input channel and output channel to operate from a different voltage supplied by the user. This way you can supply the servos with your own voltage source and not rely on the board power supply.

All the input and output channels are ESD hardened with dedicated ESD protection circuitry. The 5V input is reverse polarity protected for added protection. This makes the SSC well suited for beginners in electronics so they can explore without the risk of damaging the circuit board.

Up to 255 rules can be programmed. Each rule can have any number of conditions. The conditions types are as follows:    

  • Conditions for the digital inputs are: True, False, Rising Edge, Falling Edge.  
  • Conditions for the analog, servo and pulse inputs are: greater then and less then.  
  • A special condition for trigger on animation events can also be set. Trigger on animation interruption and trigger on animation finished. 

Running multiple rules that output to the same output channel sums the results together. The outputs can also be summed with a virtual zero point. If no rules are active for a particular output channel a default output state can be set or the output can be left at the last value.

The firmware in the SSC is designed to receive software upgrades. These upgrades will add new features and improvements. 

The Software Interface

Configuring the SSC is done through the Smart Servo Controller programmer. This graphical tool lets you setup the inputs and outputs, create rules and test the output of animations.

Demos of the SSC in action

This first demo shows how easy it is to use the software to make servo motors move.

 In this next video describes a little bit about the walking robot that was made to show case the SSC. The robot has 6 degrees of freedom in each leg.

This next demo shows how to turn on and off relays based on a temperature sensor. Plus a blinking LED for fun. (Added June 18)

Turning LEDs on and off. (Added June 23)

Using the PID function to have a robot keep its distance from my hand. (Added June 23)

Stay tuned for more demos and tutorials :)

The Rewards

 Be sure to checkout our facebook page to stay up to date with the latest developments. https://www.facebook.com/smartservocontroller

Risks and challenges

In this project I have tried to eliminate technical risks by designing, programming, testing and using the SSC in several projects before launching it on kickstarter. I have been working closely with the PCB manufacturing and assembly service. Together we are committed to delivering a quality product. If supply chain delays or manufacturing mishaps occur we will keep you informed every step of the way.

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    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $0.75

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    Pledge CA$ 57 or more About $43

    Bare Board - The basic board.
    Prices are in Canadian. The equivalent USD price is approximately $47

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    Pledge CA$ 76 or more About $57

    Basic Board Kit - The basic board with USB cable and power adapter.
    Prices are in Canadian. The equivalent USD price is approximately $62

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    Pledge CA$ 163 or more About $122

    Explorer Kit - The basic board with USB cable, power adapter and an array of sensors and servos.
    Prices are in Canadian. The equivalent USD price is approximately $134

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Funding period

- (30 days)