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Scholarship: Poster-making bot

I recently graduated from high school. One of the opportunities that I had in high school was to serve on student council. On council, we were required to create posters out of sheets of butcher paper to advertise school events. I have always had poor handwriting; and the large characters we were required to write seemed to amplify the imperfections of my writing. It was difficult for me to create clean, neat-looking posters. For this reason I'm proposing a robot that could write manipulate the marker for me; writing the words on the paper for me. Butcher paper is large, smooth paper which is 3 ft wide. This paper can be torn at any length, depending on the length of the string of characters Once oriented on the paper, the robot could write out a string of characters with a marker which it could place and remove from the paper. The pattern for each character could be pre-programmed into the robot. This way the robot would only need to process the sequence of the characters, and then carry out the drawing. The marker could have a home-position of being away from the paper and in some sort of cover to prevent it from drying. The robot would simply drive around the paper in the pattern of the characters, lowering the marker at the appropriate times. The virtual wall could be used to ensure that the letters remained parallel to a user defined line. To lesson driving time, a device might be mounted on the front of the robot which could move the marker from side to side as it drove forward; much like a computer printer. I believe I could integrate a standard computer keyboard onto the robot. The user would only need to type what he wanted to appear and hit enter. If the system became advanced enough, perhaps it could decode Black & White bitmaps into instructions for the robot. I imagine a robot-drawn "Mona Lisa" or an "Instructables" Logo. I'm quite certain that, if I'm awarded a kit, I'll be able to assemble a working model of this bot. I've got most of what I would need and I'm willing to locate or purchase the few tidbits that I don't already have at my disposal. Please respond with any questions, Wyatt Felt

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zachninme10 years ago
This sounds just like a Logo Turtle, which I thought I saw on the iRobot website...
aarone10 years ago
Actually, that's the web right there. It doesn't like Microsoft's defined smart quotes and a handful of other characters. I just had to solve this problem at work. Easiest way to avoid it is to use standard ascii characters and not type stuff out in Word that's going to be posted to the web.
NachoMahma10 years ago
. I like this one! Here's a few suggestions/things to think about: . > a device might be mounted on the front of the robot which could move the marker from side to side as it drove forward; much like a computer printer. . Maybe use multiple pens, more like a dot-matrix printer? . > The virtual wall could be used to ensure that the letters remained parallel to a user defined line. . Or draw a line on the paper using ink that is invisible to humans but the robot can detect. . > I believe I could integrate a standard computer keyboard onto the robot. . How about just a USB port on the 'bot and plug in the kybrd as needed? . > decode Black & White bitmaps into instructions for the robot . I think I've seen something similar - apps that will turn bitmaps into a series of "normal" print characters. No idea what to use for a search string. An Instructables logo might win a few brownie points with the judges.
Our current printer, an HP G55 OfficeJet, and our previous printer, an HP 2110, both had software that could scan a document, convert it to text, and copy it into Word. I don't know how easily adaptable that would be, but the software exists.
W_world (author)  NachoMahma10 years ago
Thanks for your ideas. I think I'm going to avoid using a dot matrix system, that way the robot could write large characters. Though it might be interesting to to have 3 or 4 markers running along next to each other. The robot could lower as many as it needed to create a desired thickness. I like that idea of the invisible line drawn on the paper, perhaps in UV flourescent ink. If I did that, then the user could draw a line in any shape and the robot would follow it; that could be cool for arcs and other unusual patterns. And I'd thought about just plugging the keyboard directly into the USB port. But do you suppose the kit has a keyboard BIOS? I think I'd have to code my own using the USB keyboard scan codes. Thanks again.
> But do you suppose the kit has a keyboard BIOS? I think I'd have to code my own using the USB keyboard scan codes. . I'm not familiar with the Create, but I doubt it has the brainpower to do what you want. You will probably need a microcontroller, so get one that has the appropriate ports/BIOS.