BEAM navigation


This is the circuit for a phototropic walking robot insect which follows light.
It's based on M.Tilden's work, BEAM robotics: it's about analog control circuits (microcores) that simulate neural and nervous networks present in the in the real insects' spinal cord; these react to external stimuli in a robust and very reliable way. Many other circuits have been drawn to do things like follow light, sense obstacles and reverse motors.
Of course this works just for walkers for the moment.

here comes my project: a BEAM autopilot!
It will be based on conversion of digital data coming from sensors, GPS to analog current levels, that will be inputted to control circuitries like the one above. The outputs will then be reconverted to digital for actuating servos and so on. I haven't still drawn nor calculated anything.

This is just a newborn concept, now I'd like to hear opinions of feasibility from experts in electronics I'm such a stinky newbie!

Thanks to everyone who will give me some thoughts!!
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  • I would suggest that you narrow the project to flight stabilization. There are several outstanding flight control problems for which the speed and parality of analog control - specifically flying a rectilinear wing with elevons using angle of attack sensors to keep the wing stable. If you used analog servos (voice coil actuators for example) you could keep it analog and fast.

    But good luck whatever you choose...
  • was just thinking it could be a funny thesis project for me. When I have some spare time i'll draw down some schemes goooodbye to evribadi
  • Interesting idea... but it sort of seems like Rube Goldberg way of flying. Going analog leaves you open to all sorts of new problems. If your main concern is robustness, it wouldnt be too hard to add a watchdog timer to your digital AP and have a backup AP that can take over if it locks up. Or there's the good old switching to remote control plan. I really can't see analog being more practical.

    On the other hand if you're in it for the journey, sounds like quite the unique and entertaining project. Keep us posted!
  • I have built many BEAM projects based on Tilden's work. The ScoutWalker would love to have a
    BEAM autopilot!

    Let me know when its done. :>)

  • Thinking further on...if hooked to the Ardustation tracking ability, it would allow for the beam to be pointed at the dont need to find the AP..and it knows home, with a large amount of accuracy..

    Just thinking out loud really...

    pretty cool

  • In theory, it sounds like a cool idea...if used to follow a IR LED or corridor, could be used for ILS landings...

    might make spot landings another option....

    with the AP we dont need all the control hardware, just the ability to read and interpret the beam and work out trajectory accordingly...

    Very interesting.

  • What i dpn't like about digital electronics is that systems get very complicated and can crash or glitch easily (think of windows vista) : during a flight, this would mean destruction. I tried to build a BEAM bot and it works really great and fast, and it can't lock up. Can be interesting, if done, but it's such a hard task to accomplish!
  • Id like to see that do floating point math lol.
  • if you want a bio-inspired auto-pilot you could do something with neural networks in software.
    I am not going to get into why your idea is not feasible because I don't know where to start.
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