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  impecunious chess robot
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   Author  Topic: impecunious chess robot  (Read 872 times)
orra man
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« on: December 3, 2005, 02:42AM »
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Apologies Ismenio,

Scots are naturally canny over matters of finance and often overcompensate for a national charactaristic that is seen by some as parsiminous and it is most devilish difficult to get one to admit when they are in funds.

The items mentioned had all been obtained in the previous week but we have almost recovered from the unacustomed emptyness of having bought something other than a chess computer. In any case the new scope is a doddle to use.

A driver for Winboard is still top of the wish list but every Dos or Winows chess programme with serial communications, enthusiast inspired or commercially produced has evaded our search.

Forby that, progress is slowly being made.

All the best wishes.

Dave and Gordon
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Ismenio
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #1 on: December 1, 2005, 06:12PM »
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Hi Dave and Gordon,

I know this won't be a cheap project but I will try to help in any way I can. I'll check on the software again. I used to have time to play with code outside work but nowadays it's all but impossible 

In the mean time, are there any parts that you need that we could help you get?

Thanks,

Ismenio
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orra man
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #2 on: December 1, 2005, 01:51AM »
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Greetings Ismenio,

Thank you for the link to the robot arm.

Andy Sheaff of that university suggests that we try to use GNU under CYGWIN. However the CYGWIN  home page states that 'You have to rebuild your application from source if you want it running under Windows'. Should anyone with such ability care to volunteer ... it's beyond our capabilities for the forseable future.

A driver for Winboard perhaps for the ultimate upgradable robot?

On the hardware front progress is slow but steady, we "ca' canny but ca' awa".

Inevitably what started out using available servos, motors and test equipment has overspent our budget of 0. An oscilliscope with better low speed triggering, power servos, H bridges, bigger pics etc., it is no longer the project that is poor.

Should this thread have a more apposite title?

O'rrabest

Dave and Gordon
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Ismenio
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2005, 12:24PM »
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Gordon+Dave,

Please take a look at this project. These folks used GNU chess so maybe they can help us 

http://www.eece.maine.edu/~sheaff/robochess.html



Ismenio
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Ismenio
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2005, 05:45PM »
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Hi Gordon and Dave,

I will try to have with coding. It's been a long time since I last worked on a C program but I can try to find help.

Also, I may be able to get some help from the folks from the Pittsburgh Robotic Society ( http://www.pghrobotics.org/ ).
I can guarantee you that I'll do what I can to get this project off the ground


Next week I should have some time to start some contacts!

Best regards,

Ismenio
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orra man
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2005, 09:25AM »
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Greetings Reinhard

Thank you, as you succinctly put it, the basic robot arm would act as a secondary output device slaved to the PC screen. For many people that could be all they require, any recorded game could be performed automaticaly and there are thousands of recorded games. No comparable device is available commercially at any price.

With help, we see this as a viable first stage that, once proven could be built upon.

A first requirement for some would be for the arm to park captured pieces giving it the ability to setup the pieces for the start of the next game. This would allow a list of games to be played in sequence but would put a greater load on the programmer who would, in recompense, have the knowledge that once completed his work would power any size of board. However as a rough guess I would suggest that hardware cost could rise by the square of the increase in board area.

Earlier threads (which in ignorance I did not know how to join) show that a number of members would accept the Lynx 6 as a viable arm size. http://www.lynxmotion.com/  gives reach as 14.5 inches and assuming that this figure includes the outstreached gripper I would hazzard a guess that a comfortable board size would be 10 inches by 10. The lifting power of 3oz could be somewhat marginal depending on the weight of the grab. I see this system as lifting a garden gate with one hand at arm's length.

I see
http://cidampc7.cityu.edu.hk/cidam/clips/chess_playing_robot-1.wmv as swinging a garden gate at arm's length with the stress taken by the hinges.

http://tinyurl.com/a6esa  suggests a single arm on an offset carriage with the loss of one servo.

An active board for human input would be essential for my enjoyment. From my limited searching on the internet I gather that only DGT produce such a board at a price in the UK of 345.

Piece recognition I can live without so 64 reed switches under a normal board with another pic should manage the capture. Anyone out there care to share the effort and run a paralell project? 

O'rrabest

Gordon and Dave
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2005, 04:16PM »
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Quote from: orra man on November 18, 2005, 10:55AM   

Greetings Ismenio and thank you for your welcome.

Engines:
Arasan I am informed has no serial output.

GNU appeared to be a possibity but I am a dyslexic PC ignoramus and the mountain of words and the multiplicity of download requirements overwhelmed me. Your offer of assistance in finding an engine is much appreciated.
...

Dave and Gordon


I'm on it!!!
I'll keep you posted!!!

Best regards,

Ismenio
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2005, 01:30PM »
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Hi Gordon and Dave,

if I have read it correctly, the robot device actually is merely intended to update a physical board in time. I had thought, the board would also be an input device, enabling a player to communicate with the chessprogram via the board only. But now it seems, that the robot simply should play the role of a second output device.

That would imply to have a (maybe asynchrone) control line to the robot, to produce an identical position on the board as shown at the screen. Right?

Reinhard.
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2005, 11:14AM »
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Greetings Reinhard

Thank you for your interest and the link to your site.

Please forgive me for using your post to explain to anyone interested.

At present all that exists is a rudimentary arm consisting of a sturdy motor/gearbox combination with it's vertical output shaft acting as a shoulder supporting a horizontal upper arm. The elbow is a servo with forearm swinging horizontally supporting a servo acting as a wrist with a pointer acting as a hand having vertical movement. No grab is fitted at present.

Three potentiometers provide input to three of the pic's Analogue to Digital Converters and the numbers obtained constitute the demand positions for the servos. A 16 character 2 line Liquid Crystal Display shows these numbers converted to microseconds with the servo centering at 1500 microseconds. Each servo requires it's demand position to be updated at approximately every  20 miliseconds, this consists of a 5V positive pulse varying from 700 to 2200 microseconds in accordance with the position of the pot.
A hand written lookup table for selected squares shows numbers for each servo. The pots are moved till the LCD shows the listed numbers and the "hand" touches the the square, braw! (yeeha?)

Both pic editors have RS232 serial data capture routines.
Our basic proposal is that and once the game is set up on a normal chess board beside the arm the player would enter e2e4 with the PC mouse. The PC chess program would output a synchronising preamble then e2.e4 to the pic via RS232 and the pic would search it's lookup table and send pulses to the servos. Further pic routines would grab, lift, move and deposite the chess man.
At this point the pic would inform the PC that it's move was complete and waits for the next instruction string from the PC.
There are limits to Picaxe and more to myself so announcement of a capture in the form d5xe4 would allow removal of a captured piece before the capturing move. This would allow a straightforeward game with the player setting up for each game.

Again to Reinhard
Thank you for your patience.
If you would be willing to lead me by the hand and take me through the steps required to enter such a dialogue with your PC program I will be your willing pupil.

O'rrabest

Gordon and Dave.
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orra man
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2005, 10:55AM »
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Greetings Ismenio and thank you for your welcome.

Engines:
Arasan I am informed has no serial output.

GNU appeared to be a possibity but I am a dyslexic PC ignoramus and the mountain of words and the multiplicity of download requirements overwhelmed me. Your offer of assistance in finding an engine is much appreciated.

It would appear from the link that you gave that chess960 is a software issue for both the PC and dedicated chess computer.

This is a fresh endeavour following minor successes (some with servos) with Picaxe for myself with my reduced capabilities and the more competant Picbasic for Gordon.

We have received advice from http://www.jotika-ltd.com/ on the selection of powerful servos and should we eventually be able to soak test a bulletproof prototype, they will consider kit production. Jotika is a truly world class manufacturer of ship model kits and importantly for us the most powerful model boats available. They have in house CNC machining of wood and structural plastics, small scale plastic moulding and small scale metal casting.

That point is beyond our event horizon

As to cost: Dictionay; impecuniosity = dire poverty. The only thing that money can not buy.

Dave and Gordon
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2005, 03:20AM »
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SMIRF actually does not yet support electronic boards. The reason is, that I do not own such a board.

SMIRF consists of an engine and an own GUI, supporting four languages Eng/Ger/Fra/Swe. The performance of the SMIRF engine is good but not (yet) one of the protagonists. You can try its beta from http://www.chessbox.de/Compu/schachsmirf_e.html.

If I should support your project I would need all involved hardware (except the PC).

Reinhard.
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Re:impecunious chess robot
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2005, 03:41PM »
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Hello Gordon and Dave!

First, welcome to our forum! 

I am very interested in a project like yours and I'm willing to help in any way I can. Regarding the chess engine, have you considered the GNU project (open source) and the Arasan one? I think the author would cooperate with this. Let me know if you want me to contact them. And if you want the robot to play chess960 (a first in dedicated chess computers!) check the SMIRF project: http://www.chessbox.de/Compu/schachsmirf_e.html the author, Reinhard, is a member here and he is open to the idea as well.

Are you still in the research phase? Any ideas regarding cost? Again, I would love to be part of it (meaning: I want one!) and I think others here may also be interested in a project like this.

Best regards,

Ismenio
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impecunious chess robot
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2005, 11:37AM »
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Greetings
We have made a start on the mechanics of a chess machine after the style of the Novag Robot and are seeking help in locating a  PC chess program or a dedicated chess computer to drive it.
The chess program would need to have a serial or parallel output for each move. Full algebraic notation would obviate the need to store piece placements on the micro and facilitate removal of captured pieces before a capturing move.
The alternative chess computer would preferably have an auto sensory board,  8 row and 8 column LEDs for simple chess computer to microcontroller move transfer.
www.picaxe.co.uk and www.picbasic.org provide RS232 and servo driving  software that is on test using a servo amplifier driving a larger more efficient gearbox  for the shoulder and conventional servos for elbow and wrist, showing good positional repeatability.
Information on products and availability would be most welcome as would help with data capture software.
O'rrabest.
Gordon and Dave.
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