Driving Farrusco

In between working till late hours and living in an old Monastery I had a really good time at the AZResidency this year.

On Saturday Mayur even cooked a lovely curry for dinner that had chicken curry, lentil dhal and other goodies.

The project I’ve been working started off as a Web interface to control a robot, more specifically a Guibot which we call ‘Farrusco’. This was the follow-up of the SWARS project, that started last year at this same residency.

Even before we started working on it we had another idea which was to develop an Android app and use the accelerometers to control it. For the communication we decided to use the open protocol XMPP and Google Talk. This allowed us first and foremost to control the robot via messages in GTalk which was pretty awesome :)

After that we started working on the Android app to send the messages via XMPP to Google talk using the Smack library. At this point we had the mobile app working already and controlling the robot.

Once we got the Android app working we quickly moved on to other ideas. We had a Kinect lying around and so we starting working on controlling the robot through simple gestures in the air, kind of “use the force Luke”.

But the initial goal was to allow a person to visit our Hackerspace site and through there drive Farrusco and see through his camera. With that in mind we did a web interface and hosted the whole thing (web interface and web service) on Google AppEngine because 1) it’s free and 2) using XMPP is dead easy in there. You won’t be able to use it straightaway because well.. we don’t have a Farrusco 24h available for you just yet. But I’m thinking in a future session at AltLab to have Farrusco on and let you control it in realtime.


I won’t bore you with any more of the details, just check the video: