newish RSM hacks

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crazygeorge's picture
newish RSM hacks

hi, am currently working on a hack for the rs media to make it voice controlled, phone controlled, bluetooth controlled, and wifi controlled. ( making the remotes a bit usless )

you need a raspberry Pi ( £ 30 )

sound card ( £ 5 ) ( for the mic, )

optional usb to serial converter ( RS V1s , V2s may be doable differently )

BT modual ( £ 1 ) ( pound shop special

wifi dongle ( 10 ) optional extras for fun IR dongle ( or build one from the PI GP0s, ( easy enough ) .

We have it all tested ( individualy ) working, althoug i have not wired up the internal mic yet, using a spare. we have looked atr 2 voice options, one online, one offline. both are functional, but the online one, does not need any training and is very accurate, and easy to set up, the offline one is a bit more trick to set up, but it works. offline, you can command the robots movments, fuctions and any sensors/triggers, allows yo uyto play songs ect.

The online one uses the net as a brain ( google servers ) and is outsandingly good and understanding questions. even the most oddest of questions, anything it interprits as math or sience, it asked wolf=alpha, ( its not allowed to be switched on whiles my daughter does her homework )

Still to do, power the PI direct from Bot, ( very easy ) trying to interface the camera and sensors from head, directly to PI ( i may replace the cam to make it easyer, but it should only cost £ 10.

battery charging ( near field charging if possible, if not a charge circuit ) Scratch interface for the PI, for macro and bodycons

chatterbots, ( OMG, scary, 2 rs medias, different CBs, you just mention religion, they start arguing, its funny but a bit freeky, ) For rs media V1s, you will have to do the serial hack, for v2s, there may be another, none hacky way to do it.


some usage examples

Me "hello robot" ----Robot realises am talking to it, not asking a question or movment command,

---- Robot uses track human to locate you ( easyer than the DIR mics in the head )

Robot responds " Hello ", and waves its arm ( only first time you say hello it waves ) Example

2 Questions

me " robot, question, how far away it the moon "

------ robot looks up wolf-google-wiki,

Robot responds " approximatly 240,000 km , would you like further details ? "

----- robot looks at what devices it can connect to, TV, Tablet phone, and will send it if asked. With the IR dongle, it can switch the devices on first.

Lots of ideas, not lots of time, always the same with projects like this.

My current task, set by my daughter, get both rsms doing a version of Daft Punk, better harder faster stronger. On youtuble, the term Daft fingers, or daft bodies, gives yo uyan idea of what she expects,

nomad's picture

cant wait to see a video.

Sunbeamowner's picture

Wow. Can't wait for the final tested hack. Have you contacted Robert Oschler ?

Robert has been working on the "Robo Dance" software for years.
Keep up the good work.

gerber's picture

Soundly like a great project. Once you have done the mods will you be giving details of how to did this?

The simplest way I found to do voice recognition is with an android device link to the RSM via bluetooth. I am currently making a easy to use development software language for the RS media and am hoping to be able to connect directly to the RSM via USB from and Android device. If I manage to do the USB connection from an android device this will mean you won't have to add the serial hack to access and control the robot remotely means anyone with an RSM and Android device will be able to get the full potential of their robot with out having to modify it in anyway.

You might be able to do a direct connection from the Raspberry PI to the RSM via USB in a similar way. I haven't messed around with my Raspberry Pi much so not sure how to do this at the moment

gerber's picture

Great ideas.

I was thinking similar, just from a different angle, i have been looking at the possibililty of swapping out the media board compleatly, replacing it with a PI or another cheep dev board. but thats a future project and the daughter will not wait. It would give you the ability to interface nearly any dev's without haveing to get the board to understand them.

Thats a good move as you can't get spares for RSM and the Raspberry Pi easily available so there will all ways be a replacement part if you new a new Pi.

I am wandering if I can get the hoover and RSM to build and share a room plan, if you get my meening. so both can explore a room with each others data added to the plan.

I had a similar idea a few years ago of replacing the legs on the RSM with a irobot roomba or a wheel base to give it better mobility as that is the biggest issue along with the battery consumption the RSM has.

Redcoolxmaster's picture

Sounds Epic cant wait to see it :D

TehRSV2's picture

I'm really excited to see how this turns out!

gerber's picture

Your making really great progress.

I have a RSM which I use for spares and repairs for my other bots as it has a broken main board and cracked LCD screen. This would be a great bot to play with.

I wouldn't mind salvage this spare bot and replacing media board, main board and motor control board to leave just a the shell of the bot. I have an servo controller which I can link to the PI which I have had for about 2years and never used. Not sure how difficult this will be but there is plenty of resource on the net to help me.

FreddyA's picture

Crazygeorge, I'm pretty sure you are crazy and that's so cool. You are deep into what I dream to see as a "Super- Toy" like in the movie A.I. Angel, the teddy bear. I would love to see your rsm bot in action. seriously I agree with your opinion on WowWee. Do you happen to know Dr. Mark Tilden personally? To me it would be the ultimate cocktail night to hear you both go on about the rsm and future production bots influence and possibilities as far as home entertainment/education robots go. Great people here, gerber, helibot, vader, Jamie, nomad and many more are surely excited that the best wowwee product ever (how ever lousy it did $) is the base you chose to catapult this amazing creation. One guy that is missed is Nocturnal, he laid out the land. I have a rovio, base and beacons if you need, also my personal and spare rsm to further the fun. Your accomplishments on the rsm bot are astonishing to me and like I said, I cant wait to see your bot in action.

Tareq's picture

Hi all
I am new for RS Media development,
I have RS Media v2 (USBNET) supported .

I want to control my RS Media using Wifi.
I read the tool USBNET control at the DevelopmentKit.
but I want to control it using Wifi ?step by step please .
and without hurting the Hardware as possible ..
thanks .

Helibot's picture

Hey CrazyGeorge,
Sounds like you are doing an awesome job. Cant wait to see some video or find out more!

A few comments for you:
*Sound from RSMedia microphone, despite my best effort I could never find a good way to get sound out of RS-Media, the only thing to use is the sound record scripts but they are so slow, its not really viable for interactive speech. So I would go with another microphone. You could use the sound sensor on RSMedia to trigger your second mic to listen, but the sound has to be quite close and loud to trigger RSMedia sound detection.

*Camera, again I tried to get a video stream from the built in camera but couldn't get that to work either. Happy to share some of my findings it its of interest to you.

>We have a PI successfully running the bot, independent of the media board,
> but it unsafe,
If you want to remove the RSMedia Linux board completely then you will need to get the PI to send a set of initialization commands to the motor board, otherwise it wont respond to any of the serial commands to move anything. Maybe you have done this already?

>when am back on friday, i will write up the install scripts for the Pi, so
>anyone with RSMv2 or RSM with serial hack, can just attach there PI and voice
>control it.
Cooool, would love to see this when you have it ready :-)

>Other IR device control,, yep ( usb ir transceiver ),
Love the idea of being able to control other many possibilities.
Its awesome using a PI , cos you get all the benefits of all the LINUX support (like LIRC and speech recog) in such a cheap and easy to use box!!


Helibot's picture

Hi Crazy George,

>Digging around with the google archives, i found this write up by nocturnal
Excellant - I have seen the source snippets before , but not the startup command list. This is an awesome find!!. I always wanted to write a new 'main program' for RSMedia (ie to replace the main programs supplied by Wowwee) but being able to initialise the robot correctly was one of the things I couldn't do. So with this info I maybe able to finish it off!

Maybe your PI solution could also benefit from a new main program on the media board - if you connected the PI to the media board, a new main program could forward any commands to the main board and forward status (buttons sensors etc) from main board to PI. But it could ALSO allow the PI to make requests to the media board to play sounds, display pictures/text on LCD, record audio etc. Maybe you are already doing something like this?.

The other thing I always wanted todo was change the robot mode (Conrtol/Arm/Media) from the linux board. But I concluded that mode change could only be triggered from the motor board (ie only known way is from IR signal from remotes 'M' key). Did you find any other way to change modes?
Although with your IR sending capability with the PI you could send the IR command from the PI to change the robot mode!!

>And, i have only managed to get to this stage, due to the fact you ( helibot )
> and nocturnal detailed everything you did,
Thanks for the shoutout! And this is exactly why I did do some much documenting , so others can come and build on what we have done, todo even better and cooler things :-)

nomad's picture

sound fantastic

FreddyA's picture

That's not much money to mod the robosapien line to something way out there. I'm sure Dr. Tilden would be proud to see his creation grow up. Lets see some video of the progress!

Helibot's picture

Hey crazygeorge,
On RSM I believe the robot board controls the IR transmitter and sensors. There are commands from the main board to the robot board , to turn the sensors on and off, and to trigger sending IR commands to trigger interaction with the other types of robots. When the IR sensors are turned on, they stream data back to the main board. (See my copybot program for details how to understand the data streamed back to the main board). But I dont think there is no way to use software to reprogram or interface to sensors, or change the frequency or control them as IO pins.
As we mentioned a few posts ago, there is some data that is sent from the main board to the robot board during initialization - its possible (but quite unlikely!!I have no evidence of this, its just a guess!!) that some of this maybe related to the IR sensors - for example maybe the init data contains the IR commands that are sent to trigger interactions with other robots.
BTW I did, once upon a time find some IO pins on the RSMedia board that can be programmed/controlled from scripts or program running on the linux board. Let me know if this is of interest to you and I will see if i can dig out the details. (I think it was posted to the old site that is now defunct.) Could be useful if you want to add on a new IR transmitter or sensor to RSmedia main board.


Helibot's picture

Hi Crazygeorge,
>wandering how WOW WEE did it on these bots, specificaly, if there is a file with
> the IR codes or spacing for the codes, that the boards are sending to the
>IR immiters.
My guess would be that the robot board has the IRcodes built into its firmware, they are probably driving IO pins to drive the codes onto an emmitter. There is a slim chance the codes are being passed during init from the main board, but very slim. (especially since Robosapien could do the same thing and it doesnt have a main board.)

>>BTW I did, once upon a time find some IO pins on the RSMedia board that can
>> be programmed/controlled from scripts or program running on the linux
>>board. Let me know if this is of interest to you and I will see if i can
>> dig out the details.
>Yes Please
Ok, I will see if I can find the old post and add it to robocommunity. Hope I can do it in the next few days.


Helibot's picture

Hi Crazygeorge,   I posted part 1 of my old post about extra IO pins. See this new RSMedia forum thread Extra-Inputs-Outputs-pins-on-RSMedia. Part 1 shows where the pins are and how to connect to them.

Part 2 will have the software and details on how to program the pins. Will take a few more days to get this posted....



crazygeorge's picture

Am haveing a bit of a blond moment, wander if anyone can help. On RSMs media board,  My blond moment is probebly down to my lack of understanding of electrronics.  Am struggling to power the board down the main connection wires to the main board.  I can power it an boot linux through the serial line, by powering it at 3,3v ( as shown in rsm dev kit and from Gerbers writings ).   But, when i try power it down the wires i think it get power from the main board, it does not boot  ? Connector - Main Board1BrownN/AUnknownTo Main BoardThis connector connects to the Main Board, it carries the communications between the Main board and Media board as well as the audio for the speakers2RedN/ASerial Com Port3OrangeN/A4YellowN/AUnknown5GreenN/ASub-woofer audio channel6BlueN/ASub-woofer ground7PurpleN/ALeft audio channel8GreyN/ALeft ground9WhiteN/ARight audio channel10BlackN/ARight ground( above from Nocturnals strip down, on wayback when machine ) .   For some reason, when i power it down that line, its not booting the media board.    I am going to test the current used this weekend, but surely, if it boots down the serial, it should boot with the same current down the main one.   I will sus this over the next week, just wandered if anyone can suggest the obvios what i missed ( my blond moment ) .    

crazygeorge's picture
Connector - Main BoardConnector - Main Board
Brown N/A Unknown To Main Board This connector connects to the Main Board, it carries the communications between the Main board and Media board as well as the audio for the speakers
Red N/A Serial Com Port
Orange N/A
Yellow N/A Unknown
Green N/A Sub-woofer audio channel
Blue N/A Sub-woofer ground
Purple N/A Left audio channel
Grey N/A Left ground
White N/A Right audio channel
Black N/A Right ground


crazygeorge's picture

Just in case anyone else is poking about at this board.if i connect wires 1, 4 and 10 from the main board to the media board.   i can get a serial connection from wires 2 and 3 .    i thionk its at 115200 8n1.  and seems to be in hex or binary output.  ( not sure still working on it ).  to really understand it, i need to setup further comms.  At the mo, am reading what the mainboard is trying to output to the media board on boot up,  i need to pass that to the media board and read its responce.     I also need to see whats on the main serial line ( as described in rsm dev kit ), so can get a compleate picture.   more to come.