"RS Media Control Station" software

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gerber
gerber's picture
"RS Media Control Station" software

Hi all

I am new to the RS Media. Well when I say new, I mean my son and daughter have both had RS media’s for 3 year. Only now since my daughters robot stop working and I asked for help from this forum have I learnt so much about the robot. It is only now that I can seeing so much potential and possibility of the RS Media Robots.

I really have to thank the members of the forum for giving me so much help, time and advice in trouble shooting the Broken robot and learn about the program aspect of the RS Media. A quick thankyou to  Jamie, FreddyA, Helibot, Vader and anybody else who has given me advise so far. (Currently the broken robot is still dead but I am really hopeful that I can repair it. The broken robot has now been named Frankenstien Monster as I am sure he needs a bolt of lightning to get him working again)

Anyway back the reason for this thread. My background is software development and I have many software and hardware idea I am going to develop in the near future to do with the RS Media. Some of which are:

RS media Musical instrument
RS media Auto dancing machine
RS media live video streamer
RS media robot Wars battle game.
RS media charging and Auto homing station
(I have many more but these are the more sane ideas I have had)

To start with I am just getting to grip with Linux and the command for the robot itself. I have however started working on my first project which I have called the RS Media Control station. Basically at the moment it is just a remote control to operate the RS media from the PC in realtime. This software will evolve over time and be that base station for all me software projects for the RS media.

Below is a screenshot of the “RS Media Control Station” software so far
 

Currently the software is quite crude and very basic as you control the robot in realtime by moving the scrollbar on the screen(but then again it did only take me half an hour to write)

Currently the software will only make the robots perform the basic movement but I will be adding all the other functions of the robot to the control panel. As it stands the software works quite well even though it is basic.

I will be getting rid of the scrollbar and to move the robot you will only have to drag the body part of the robot on the screen. I want to  try and make the robot image 3d but as I have never written anything using 3d graphic I’ll have to do some research first.

Current Software issues
Problem 1)
I have to switch off the robots vision and hearing from the RS medias remote control before I can control the robot from the software. However from previous thread that @Helibot and @Vader have sent I should be able to do this from within my software.

Problem 2) The other issue and more annoy I am have is that after a minute or 2 the robot go into a sleep mode then after about 5 minutes it powers off. FreddyA has advised me to look at the AUTONOMYV1 download to overcome this issue.

The software is fully working as it stand currently, but before its worth uploading, I think I need to do a lot more work to improve its functions and make it more use friendly.  I do however promise I will be upload it for everybody to play with in the near future and I will keep you all up to date with my progress.

Oh yes, I have just received my serial hack in the post an will be install it on the media board next week

All the best
Gerber

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi

The software in now ready for everyone to try. Below is a screen shot 

I have now uploaded the software to the forum. If you want to have a go of it then click on the link below

http://www.robocommunity.com/download/18033/RS-Media-Control-Station/;jsessionid=52306E7B13759549FA0B29B518F5121F

 

I now the software is very basic at the moment but I will be adding all the robot movements on the next release, and before you comment on the graphics of the robot I know he looks bit like a cardboard cut when you move him, but I am hoping to improve this in a future release by making it into a proper 3d rendered robot.

Let me know what you think and if you find any bugs let me know and I will try and fix them for the next release.

Cheers

Gerber

Vader
Vader's picture

It's a bit buggy for me:

I also get this exception on startup, I'm guessing the app is .NET based?

InvalidArgument=Value of '0' is not valid for 'SelectedIndex

I'd say that's something to do with the ComboBox in the ToolStrip.

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi Vader

Yeah your right I wrote the software in VB.net. I know the softwares quite buggy and the grab points are a bit hit or miss but this was only the first release and I have since improved it from the current version of the software I released.

Thanks for letting me know about the combo bug and screen graphic problem. I did find this bug myself shortly after releasing the software when I installed it on another PC. It's caused when there are no com port found on the computer when the software starts up.

@Vader - When you click on the Combobox are there any ports on in the list?

It will be sorted on the next release. I have fixed a number of other bugs as well, such as the flicker when the robot moves on the screen. I have also added all the other movements for all the RSM limbs in the new software.

The code for the moving of the graphics on the screen is starting to get quite complicated (There is alot of triganomitary involved which toch ages to work out how to do) but I have been able to complete this part of the software which is the basis for make a properly 3d render RSM graphic. At the moment the graphics are still quite crude but eventually I will try to create a properly 3d rendered robot like the one in the RS Media Suite in a later version of the software.

I will be uploading the next release of the software in the next few days.

Cheers
Gerber

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi all

I am happy to announce the second release of the software for controlling the RS Media is now here.(Please download it and have ago)

I have done a lot of debugging and improvements to the software since the previous version. I have now included all the limb movements and a saftey feacture to stop the user from breaking any gears in the robot.

I have still many more features to add to the software but for now you can move all limbs of the robot and make him walk round.

The hardest part in writing this software was getting the graphics on the screen to look sort of 3d when moving them.

I have added an instruction manual in the zip file and at the end of the manual is a list of the feacture I am planning on adding to the software.

If you find any bugs of have any ideas for things you would like me to add to the software let me know.

below is a link to the software download:

http://www.robocommunity.com/download/18033/RS-Media-Control-Station/;jsessionid=52306E7B13759549FA0B29B518F5121F

cheers
Gerber

 

Vader
Vader's picture

Just downloaded the new version, it all seems to work fine except for when you have no COM Ports and you click on the ComboBox (it throws that same exception). Not sure if you've come across this problem, but if you are targeting a .NET version below 4.0 all COM Ports above COM9 will have an extra random character at the end (eg. COM10c). This was fixed in .NET 4.0, but if you want to target a lower version for whatever reason it can be worked around with this code:

For Each Port As String In Ports.SerialPort.GetPortNames()
    If Not IsNumeric(Port.Substring(Port.Length - 1, 1)) Then
        Port = Port.Substring(0, Port.Length - 1)
    End If

    'Add Port to ComboBox
Next

Note that you must import System.IO for that to work. If you want to render a full 3D model you will probably end up having to use Direct3D. Since you're in .NET I'd recommend you use SlimDX (as opposed to Microsoft's outdated Managed DirectX). I think the more "hands on" approach to the software is great too btw :)

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi Vader

Thank you for the help Vader. I didn't see the problem on my pc with the exceptional error but I will have another look and will sort this out for the next version of the software.

The code you supplied is great and I will try it. I am doing a similar sort of thing to test the text by using the replace function in visual basic with is a lot more long winded. You code is a lot easier. Cheers for that.

I have only had a little play with directx and have only used if for sound sampling and creating sound effects. I have never done any graphic work using it. I will definitely have a look at the SlimDX when I come to rendering the robot in 3d.

Vader are you using vb.net 2010? I use vb.net 2008 which uses the version 3.5 .net framework. I don't think 2008 supports v4 .net framework but I am not sure.

I've used VB.net 2010 a little and noticed there is not much difference between the 2 versions from what I tried, but the reason I haven't moved over to it yet is cause I found a few quirks in 2010. Basicly in 2008 I can put any object like for microsoft text to speak on a form and then change the name of the control through the properties window with out any problem. When I do the same thing in 2010 I found the Name box in the poperties window for the control is greyed out and the only way I have found to change the control name is to go in to the code for the design of the form and change it there. This problem is with all controls though some of them I can name through the properties window no problem. Have you found anything like this yourself? If so how did you get around it.

Cheers
Gerber

Vader
Vader's picture

I'm using VB.NET 2010, and I'm positive 2008 doesn't support .NET 4.0.
I've done a fair bit of programming with it and haven't noticed the properties window bug, although I have had trouble using custom ToolStripControlHost-based controls with it. Then again, I haven't used the Text to Speech control, nor did I know it existed. Did you have to download it?

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi Vader

Yeah you have to download it below is the link

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyId=5E86EC97-40A7-453F-B0EE-6583171B4530&displaylang=en

I have used it a lot. I am going to using in this software to get the robot to speak a long the same lines as Flite does. The thing I like about it is that there are loads of different voices available for it on the web and the the other good thing is it will speak the words phonetically correct without having to try to get them sounding correct by typing the words different to the way they are spelt. The speech from this is very natural as long as you download the correct voices. The ones supplied with the software are abit roboty sounding but are ok but as I said there are loads of other voices on the web that are natural.

I have use this is some software I wrote that turn dialog between many people in different voices. When I play the conversation back to my wife she thought it was a really conversation.

I had the same problem with naming the control when I used the MSagent in VB.net 2010. This is another download from microsoft. I don't know if it is a bug in 2010 or it is me. I last tried vb.net 2010 about 4 months ago.

Cheers

Gerber

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi all

I have now completed the new version of the RS Media control station

The new version has the same features as the previous version but now you can create personalities for your robot with voice effects, I have also added a basic web browser with useful robot links and there is also an intergrated help file.

I was hoping to have this version of the software ready by the beginning of November but I ran into a number of obsticales along when writing this version of the software, such as having problems with file write access and outputting the sound files for the personalities into MP3 format. 

But here it is eventually. Click the link below to download the new version of the software.

http://www.robocommunity.com/download/18033/RS-Media-Control-Station/

 

 

I have only been able to test the software for couple of weeks due to wanting to release it in time for christmas and I think I have iron out a lot of bugs but if you find any bugs yourself please leave a message here and I'll try to sort them out.

 

Cheers

Gerber

 

 

FreddyA
FreddyA's picture

Great job on this update Gerber, huge step up. Nice seasonal touch! Alot of work you have done. Thanks for the release just in time for christmas for all to enjoy.
Freddy

Curtainmaker
Curtainmaker's picture

Hi Gerber. I Think the program is fantastic, exactly what i would like to do with my RS Media, But I have loaded the program (1st and Latest copy) and it works fine on the computer, BUT under no way can i make my robot to do anything. I plug it into the computer with the USB cable, run the program and all it does is look at me. I have tried with it switch over on options and USB teather and also as the robot is first turned on. Nothing.
I am running in this laptop Vista but have changed this program to work under XP and have updated all the windows updates and have spent numerous hours persisting in getting it to work but the robot just stands there. Also all i have showing up on the com is com 3. I cannot change or write in the space another com port. is this normal
Can you please tell me what i am doing wrong or should be doing.
Thanks Curtainmaker

Jamie
Jamie's picture

Hello Curtainmaker,

I think Gerber forgot to mention that you will need to have the SERIAL HACK done. The COM port you are talking about is a number that would show up in device manager when you get the serial hack done. Mine is on COM4 and I have mine over bluetooth. No point in trying to put him in to USB Mode because that's for transferring files to the robot and downloading them. If you want to do the serial hack, check out this thread: http://www.robocommunity.com/article/13016/Connecting-to-the-RS-Media-Li...

Only try it if you are quite experienced with soldering and have alot of patience and time. Also try not to strip screws when taking the robot apart. If you have a solder bridge between 2 pins, the magic smoke will escape and your RSM will be nonrecoverable and he will be dead.

Cheers,

Jamie Kugelmann

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi Curtainmaker

As Jamie said the usb cable is normally used to transfer files but it can be used to control the robot. You don’t need a serial hack to use my software. You can connect using the standard USB cable.

Here is a bit of backgound
To communicate with the robot is you will need a COM port number. When using the standard USB cable there is no COM port available so we need to run some software in the background which will create a Virtual COMl Port and THIS will in turn allow you to communicate with the robot.

I haven’t connected this way since last September when I started playing with the robots. From what I remember you will need to download the software written by TIKA to connect to the robot via the USB cable.(Below is the link)

http://www.robocommunity.com/download/18185/RSMedia-USBNet-Console/

Below are the links to the thread about how I connected to the robot in windows 7 using the standard USB cable. It should be the same in Vista.

Start reading from Helibots post date 18th september
 http://www.robocommunity.com/forum/thread/17494/RS-Media-Fried-electronics/?page=2

 http://www.robocommunity.com/forum/thread/17494/RS-Media-Fried-electronics/?page=3

The only pain I found about connecting with the Standard USB cable is that before starting my software you always need 2 other bit of software running in the background aswell as my software as explaind in the above links, where as if you decide to add the serial hack mod to you robot you don’t need any software to connect other than mine running.

Before doing the serial hack mod on my robot I hadn’t done much soldered in the past and my soldering skills aren’t very good but it is quite easy to do. I have added the serial hack to 2 of my robot now with out any problem. The advantage the serial hack has is that as soon as you plug the serial hack into the computer a new comport is shown on your device manager which you can communicate with the robot from.

I have hunders of new ideas I want to add to the software but as I have been busy since christmas I haven't had much time to work on the software but I will again shortly and will be adding live video feed from the robot to the next release software.

Let me know how you get on and if you need anymore help let me know.

Cheers
Gerber

Jamie
Jamie's picture

Hello,

Yes sorry I forgot to mention USB console. Tika didn't make the software, she just uploaded is because Helibot would've been busy. Helibot made it.

I can connect to USB console on windows 7 without any instruction. I was the first to do so.

Cheers,

Jamie Kugelmann

gerber
gerber's picture

Sorry Helibot

OOPS! Just took the name TIKA from the download page. Let me refraise my last post.

you will need to download the software written by Helibot (uploaded by TIKA) to connect to the robot via the USB cable.(Below is the link)

http://www.robocommunity.com/download/18185/RSMedia-USBNet-Console

I stand correctedEmbarassed

Cheers
Gerber

Curtainmaker
Curtainmaker's picture

Hi Thanks for all your replys. but i have done all that you have said and also have downloaded VSPE as well. but still nothing is working in getting the RS media to move in real time. I do have the # showing up in the Start service- Vista and UCB2tcp and I can put in 1s / . Lots of information load on the black screen but i do not see the root director from the robot tho just a whole pile of traffic through the usb connections.
Regards

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi Curtainmaker

Ok your in the same place I was last september.  It took me a while to connect the robot and comunicate in really time but with a lot of patiences, persistance and help from the member like Helibot FreddyA and Jamie on this forum it was all worthwhile in the end. Ok lets check a few things.

Just one thing to note I haven't tried a connection in Vista only XP and Windows 7 but it should work the same.

1) Have you copied the files from USBconsole1.5 download to an SD card and put that into your robot.

2) In your device manager do you see libUSB-win32 -> RSmedia

3) Have you setup the com port in VPSE correctly

4) In teraterm when you opened a connection to the com port make sure the port speed is set to 115200

In the end you will get your robot connected and working in realtime and it will all be worth while.

Cheers
Gerber

Curtainmaker
Curtainmaker's picture

Hi Gerber

 

Yes 1, 2 and 3 are correct but i will check on 4

In trying today all i get is the following pdf What else have i done wrong.

Thanks non going

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi Curtainmaker

Sorry I can't make out exactly what is on the screen dump as it is blurred, but it looks like you have a connection. In the teraterm screen on the left does the last line have a #  If so then great you have a connection and you can try the following.

First on the robot controller press the X button then press the C button (This is to switch off the robots vision and hearing,  he should say something like "Vision Off" "Hearing off") Once you have done this in the teraterm after the # type the following:

/usr/bin/robot/scripts/MotorRel.sh 03 13 8

Then press enter.(The robots arm should move)

If this works then close teraterm and open my software and select the com port the robot is connected to then press the connect button. Now try moving one of the limbs of the robot in the software.

Hopefully this works. Let me know if it does or not. If it doesn't work can you do a higher resolution screen dump so I can see what is on the teraterm screen.

Cheers

Gerber

Vader
Vader's picture

gerber said:  I can't make out exactly what is on the screen dump as it is blurred, but it looks like you have a connection.

From what I can make out, it says:

+USB2TCP v1.0.0
# 1s /
1s: No such file or directory
#

BusyBox v0.60.3 (2004.03.17-03:08+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter "help" for a list of built in commands.

sh: can't access tty: job control turned off
/tmp/redirect

#

gerber
gerber's picture

Cheers Vader, Wow you have great eyes. If that is what is coming up then there is communication with the robot and you should be able to control the robot but as explained above in my last post you need to switch off the robots vision and hearing.

I need some new specs the same ones Vader is using.

Cheers
Gerber

Curtainmaker
Curtainmaker's picture

Hi Guys
Yes Vader has got it correct except for the line that says Busybox v0.60.5 (205.11.28
I can understand the 3 being mixed up for a 5 tho.
Great I shall go home and try thanks Gerber
This all new to me but i am persistant
All good
Thanks from down under here in NZ

Curtainmaker

gerber
gerber's picture

Hi curtainmaker

It was all new to me last september and now I am trying to make the robot wireless. I am nearly there. let us know if you have success controlling the robot. Good luck.

Cheers
Gerber

Curtainmaker
Curtainmaker's picture

Hi Gerber

tried it but with no luck yet. did everything you suggested. this is what happened

Curtainmaker
Curtainmaker's picture

Curtainmaker
Curtainmaker's picture

Vader
Vader's picture

Did you close TeraTerm before connecting with gerber's software?

Curtainmaker
Curtainmaker's picture

Hi...........Yes i did

Vader
Vader's picture

Usually that error means that a program is using the serial port, but that doesn't look like the case here. Try recreating the port in VSPE, which will force Windows to close any open handles on the port.

@gerber - Do you close the serial port when your software exits?

Curtainmaker
Curtainmaker's picture

Hi Vader

Do I use Teraterm and VSPE or do i just use only 1 of them. Normally I open USB2tcp first then Tera term and this is after i have switched on the bot and pluged herinto the computer.

Curtainmaker

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