Engineer | WGM Consulting
Engineer, PhD, lecturer, freelance technical writer, blogger & tweeter interested in robots, AI, planetary explorers and all things electronic. STEM ambassador. Designed, built and programmed my first microcomputer in 1976. Still learning, still building, still coding today.
1 week ago
Planet Earth is surrounded by a cloud of orbiting objects almost all of them man-made, from spent rocket stages, dead and functioning satellites to bits of debris. A theoretical collision problem is starting to look serious. Solutions are needed.
3 weeks ago
A real first for NASA this time: an aircraft built on Earth has flown on another planet: Mars. Ingenuity may be tiny, but its flight today means that planetary exploration by ‘drone’ has arrived. For planets with an atmosphere, at least.
1 month ago
The opportunity to make a performance comparison between the old Z80 MPU and a modern dsPIC MCU came up when I found the benchmark results for my 1982 version of the Forth language.
1 month ago
Planet Earth sits at the centre of an orbiting scrapyard. But this is no static pile; it’s a cloud of junk moving at speeds of up to 18,000 mph. ISS crews live and work in this shooting gallery. What can be done? First, let’s talk orbital mechanics.
2 months ago
A number of my recent posts have covered aspects of robot sensor interfacing. Now I’ll look at a simple program that uses a sensor to help a robot move around without bumping into things, and another to steer it towards the light.
3 months ago
Since the 1950s, the application of Artificial Intelligence theory to real-world problem solving has proceeded as a series of bursts of rapid advance and optimism with ‘winters’ of gloom and disillusionment in between. Where are we in the cycle now?
4 months ago
The JAXA spacecraft Hayabusa-2 has just sent back to Earth about 100mg of material taken from the asteroid Ryugu. More robotic explorers are scheduled to send back bits of comets, asteroids and planets in the future.
5 months ago
OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But the AmbaSat satellite kit I backed on Kickstarter last year has finally arrived – complete with a launch-slot certificate.
6 months ago
Rangefinders based on the principles of ultrasonic sonar allow small mobile robots to measure short distances to objects with reasonable precision. Although far from perfect, they are still pretty good at preventing collisions.
7 months ago
An essential feature of any automated factory based on the concepts of Industry 4.0 is the ability to predict mechanical failure of the machines and if not fix faults automatically, at least provide a timely warning to the guys with the spanners.
8 months ago
Having been a fan of the computer language Forth for many years, I began a project some time ago to create a version for embedded control based on the Microchip dsPIC33. DS blog posts have covered my progress to this version for the Clicker 2 board.
9 months ago
After five articles covering the protocols and practical implementations of wired serial bus systems: UART, SPI and I2C, I’m finishing up with a serial wireless (radio) link for a remote-control mobile robot.