LURCH - The autonomous wheelchair
L.U.R.C.H. is the acronym of "Let Unleashed Robots Crawl the House".
LURCH is an extended version of an commercial electric wheelchair (Rabbit by OttoBock) equipped with:
- An interface circuit for digital drive via a radio serial link (XBee modules)
- Two on-board computers (PCBricks), powered by wheelchair batteries
- A 7-inch touchscreen monitor (Xenarc 700TSV), 800x480 resolution (16:10 AR)
- Two laser scanners Hokuyo URG 04LX
- A colour camera FireI400 (resolution 640×480)
- An odometry system based on encoders applied to the rear wheels
Main goals of the LURCH project are:
- Add sensors and robotic functionalities to the powered wheelchair.
- Add various command interfaces, such as Joypad wireless, speech command, brain-computer interface.
- Semi-autonomous navigation with collision and obstacle avoidance.
- Autonomous navigation by path planning and localization.
Functions currently provided by LURCH:
- Driving by the original joystick or a Logitech RumblePad2 wireless joypad.
- Obstacle sensing using planar scanner lasers.
- Basic collision and obstacle avoidance behaviours.
- Indoor localization by a fiducial marker system
- Path planning and basic autonomous navigation.
- Brain-computer interface driving system
Lurch project appeared in many national and international media. You can see the related articles and videos in the MediaCoverage page.
- Documentation on the interface circuit between the wheelchair joystick and computer: Media:LurchCircuitDocument.pdf.
- WARNING: the circuit was modified and the documentation above is upgraded by this new file: Media:LurchXBee.pdf.
- How to modify the wheelchair joystick to connect to the interface circuit: Media:LurchCircuitJoystick.pdf.
- Brief discussion about the interface circuit between the wheelchair joystick and computer: Media:LurchCircuitJoystickBrief.pdf.
- Brief description of the LURCH project: Media:LurchBriefDesc.pdf.
- Brief description of the communication between the wheelchair interface circuit and a PC via RS232 port: Media:LurchProtocol.pdf.
- Source code for PIC 18F452 microprocessor and Eagle project (schematic and board): Media:LurchCircuitProject.zip.
- Battery replacement done on May 2009, description of work: Media:LurchBatteryReplacement.pdf.
- Thesis by Simone Ceriani, titled Sviluppo di una carrozzina autonoma d'ausilio ai disabili motori (Development of an autonomous wheelchair to help motor-disabled persons): Media:LurchThesisCeriani.pdf (in Italian)
- Thesis presentation by Simone Ceriani (note: Videos don't work, you can found similar videos below): Media:LurchPresentazioneThesisCeriani.zip
- Thesis by Marco Dalli, titled Sviluppo di un sistema di controllo basato su odometria per una carrozzina robotica (Development of a control system based on odometry for a robotic wheelchair): Media:LurchThesisDalli.pdf (in Italian)
- Thesis presentation by Marco Dalli: Media:LurchPresentazioneThesisDalli.zip
- Pdf with ArtoolKitPlus Fiducial Markers collection. Dimension are 160x160mm. Media:ArtoolKitPlusMarkers-160mm.pdf.zip
PCBrick-03 and PCBrick-05 feature Xubuntu Linux 7.10, Xfce Window Manager, Openchrome graphics drivers and eGalax touchscreen drivers v1.08.1227 (Drivers here). The touchscreen is configured and calibrated on both machines, hence it can be used with either one or the other indifferently.
A new main board for coupling the wheelchair joystick to the PCBricks is currently under design.
It will count two PIC microcontrollers configured as a master-slave system, where the slave emulates a standard USB mouse that will be operated by the wheelchair joystick when needed.
The USB mouse is emulated by a PIC18F4550 microcontroller; this unit features an on-board USB module that can be controlled by the HID (Human Interface Device) Library provided with the mikroC PRO for PIC compiler.
The USB HID standard states that the device must provide the host a descriptor in which it informs the host on which kind of informations it will generate. An appropriate USB mouse descriptor was generated using the HID Descriptor Tool provided by the USB organization.
A simple circuit has been designed to test the mouse firmware:
All the components have been placed on a small piece of perfboard to test the circuit on different computers and operating systems:
The mouse emulator was instantly recognized by all the operative systems we tested it on:
- Microsoft Windows XP
- Microsoft Windows Vista
- Ubuntu Linux
- Mac OS X
LURCH YouTube Videos
Software Installation [TODO: complete]
This guide is tested on Ubuntu 8.10, 9.04 and Xubuntu 8.10. GCC version in 4.3.
- Install the following packages:
If you want you can cut and paste this command line: sudo apt-get install ...
- Download this file: [TODO], which contains ARToolKitPlus Libraries
- unpack it in /opt folder
- go into /opt/ARToolKitPlus_2.1.1
- export ARTKP=/opt/ARToolKitPlus_2.1.1
- sudo make install
- download lurch-control.tar.gz
- extract it in your home folder
- make cleanall
- make ROBOT=wheelchair MODULE=misc
- make ROBOT=wheelchair
- cd wheelchair
- ln -s ../logExtract.sh ./
- ln -s ../run.sh ./
- download lurch-wheelchair-standalone.tar.gz
- extract it in your home folder
- go into lurch-wheelchair-standalone/config
- edit config.ini
- replace line with hostname=airlab-blackbox with hostname=<yourhostname>
- edit agent.ini
- find and replace all "airlab-blackbox" with <yourhostname>
- download the server for simulation (you need sun-java6-jdk installed and Eclipse is suggested)
- from lurch-wheelchair-standalone
- sudo ./run.sh
Marco Dalli (ex-Tesista)
Simone Ceriani (Assegnista di ricerca)
Matteo Rossi (Tesista)
Marco Assini (Tesista)
Mauro Brenna (Tesista)
Laboratory work and risk analysis
Laboratory work for this project is mainly performed at AIRLab/Lambrate. It includes some mechanical work and electrical and electronic activity. Potentially risky activities are the following:
- Use of mechanical tools. Standard safety measures described in Safety norms will be followed.
- Use of soldering iron. Standard safety measures described in Safety norms will be followed.
- Transportation of heavy loads (e.g. robots). Standard safety measures described in Safety norms will be followed.
- Robot testing. Standard safety measures described in Safety norms will be followed.