Cybert by John Cutter

Cybert is a mood-driven autonomous robot pet with an unlimited 
vocabulary!  In addition to exploring, playing
games, and getting into mischief, Cybert will soon be able 
to tell jokes, report current news, weather, and
stock market information, and find humans and read them 
their e-mail messages!  When his battery runs low he
can navigate to his charger from anywhere in the house.

Cybert is based around the Cye-sr robot from Probotics, 
Inc.  A friend helped me add an FRS receiver, a
range-finding sensor, and a light sensor.  The robot 
communicates with my PC via wireless modems; speech is
broadcast using a pair of 500mW radios (Cybert's mouth 
is a small speaker).  My Visual Basic program will
eventually be able to parse text from websites, e-mail, 
etc. and convert this to speech using Microsoft's
powerful Speech SDK. 

TIME TO BUILD:  The hardware additions took less than a 

TIME TO PROGRAM:  Ongoing project  (I add new behaviors 
and "dialogue" every day)

TOTAL COST: Less than $1000.00

Cye-sr - $845.00 (
     - robot (can travel up to 3 ft per second)
     - encoders (read 500 times per second)
     - sound sensor
     - voltage sensor
     - current sensors at each motor
     - radio pod (connects to PC using serial port)
     - charging station
     - mapping/navigation software
     - .ocx for easy VB or C++ programming
Light sensor - $2.29
Sharp GP2D15 IR range-finding sensor - $13.50
Relay - $4.95
2 FRS 500mW radios - $50.00
Misc. - $20.00

PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE: Visual Basic 5.0 (free CCE version)

OTHER SOFTWARE: Microsoft's free Speech SDK

WEBSITE: (click on Cybert link)

Cybert chooses most of his behaviors based on his mood.  
If he hasn't sensed a human for awhile (and it isn't
night time) he will become uncomfortable.  This will 
cause him to choose behaviors that are known to make him
feel better, such as moving into a well lit room.  
His mood also determines the volume, pitch, and speed of his
voice, as well as his comments.  (If Cybert detects an 
object in his path when he's angry he will say in a loud
threatening voice: "GET OUT OF MY WAY".)

Programming Cybert is a joy.  I just sit down at the 
desk in my office and start writing code.  When I need him
in order to test something I just click on the "desk" 
hotspot on Cybert's map; he undocks from his charger,
navigates down the hallway, comes into my office, and 
stops about 12 inches in front of me.  When I'm done, I
click on the home base icon and he goes back and plugs 
himself in until I need him again.  I never have to get
out of my chair!


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