How would I make a robot that can locate a computer?

Hi Community, I was thinking of making a robot that could somehow find a desktop computer went released into a room. I was wondering if there would be a good way to do this by watching for wifi signals coming out of the computer to decrease the time it would take to just visually check every corner for looking objects.

Is this possible? How would I go upon doing this?


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Wired_Mist2 years ago

I'd use some Inferred Led's

If there's nothing in the room that uses the same IR technology, like a TV remote, then just use one, or even a small array, as a beacon. Your robot will then use a IR receiver (or 2-3+) to determine which direction to go in.

To overcome the interference from other sources, like a TV Remote, you can have the beacon send out a unique code by flashing the light really quickly. You could also build multiple Beacons, Each transmitting a unique code. Think of it like Different Addresses or you could even set up way-points !

HarryA3 (author)  Wired_Mist2 years ago

Perhaps we could hide inferred LED's around the room? THanks for the suggestion

iceng HarryA32 years ago

They can be any LED just pop a 20 cent polarizing filter over the light.

Now the robot can distinguish between room lighting and the keyboards.

I presume your screens are set to black out after some time of inactivity. LCDisplays use polarizing methods...

Hey, NP.

Have fun !


That IR LED is a great deal easier for even a Czech robot to find then a wifi signal.

In fact good old Lego Mindstorm can make that robot in one evening.

Kiteman2 years ago

Reading your comments, would I be right in thinking that you have a room with a lot of computers in, with the boxes all stood at floor level, and you want to be able to release a robot to switch them all off at the end of the day?

HarryA3 (author)  Kiteman2 years ago

Basically. Sorry about the vagueness. I'll make sure to be more specific next time. :)

Kiteman HarryA32 years ago

My next question, then, is are they networked? You can get software that controls networked computers remotely, including the ability to power down.

rickharris2 years ago

A seriously difficult task unless your very good at programming and electronics.

Your best bet would be an RFID sender that the robot could home in on. or perhaps even a simple light beacon.

HarryA3 (author)  rickharris2 years ago

Would it be possible for the robot to locate the LED lights on the front of a computer? (like around a on button on your average computer).

A lot of the computers we use have lights on their fronts, at least.

Possible. Not unless said computer has a specific signal for the robot to find. If the computer is using WiFi then there is likely more than 1 WiFi signal in the area. If it looks for the strongest signal it will likely head for the nearest router.

Why does it need to find a computer?

HarryA3 (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago

I was planning on making a robot that goes around the room looking for desktops to turn of by pressing the power button.

Kiteman2 years ago

What, just find any random computer in the room?

HarryA3 (author)  Kiteman2 years ago


HarryA3 (author) 2 years ago

Sorry about that.

Seeing to it that what I had planned seems to be quite a difficult task, would it be more possible for it to trace around the walls of a room, and look for the (usually) LED displayed off/on button on the front.

Vyger2 years ago

So, you want to make a robot that can find itself. Interesting. Will it also be looking for the meaning of life and probably also the meaning of electricity? Best learn how to converse before taking on the philosophies of the ages.



iceng2 years ago

Obviously you need a directional wifi [ fix mount antenna to robot fwdir ] with the discriminator amplitude signal being fed to an gain match stage and to the ADC. Then look for the carrier wave only or set your desktop to continuously repeat transmitting ASCII letter 'A'.

Additionally your robot will need to detect relative (magnetic) direction or it will not be able to reacquire signals .

verence2 years ago

Forget the RFID or WIFI beacon idea unless you are operating in a very big, empty room. The wavelengths are very short and in a normal room you will get all kind of reflections and interferences. That means the signal may get (momentarily) weaker when the robot move towards the sender (if you use a non directional antenna) or (if you use a directional antenna) it may detect the sender in the wrong direction.

Can you put some hardware on the PC? Then put a blinking LED on the PC, use a directional light receiver (phototransistor in a pipe) and rotate your robot until you find the LED. The just move forward.