Zylatron by Mike Otis


ZYLATRON: (Built by Mike Otis mikegotis@yahoo.com)

Built in 1984 over a 3 month period,
Zylatron is my first full computer-controlled robot, named
after the Z80 chip which drives it and the 1982 Disney movie Tron.
Constructed from new, surplus and spare parts, he is now the father
of a generation of spin-off robots.

Specs: Male. Autonomous. BASIC computer on board,
speaks multiple languages with SPO256-AL2 speech
allophone synthesizer, obeys commands with
homebuilt speech recognition unit, sees in total darkness with
ultrasonic vision, mobile, has secondary analog-based eyes and ears.

His electronic nose detects and counts air contamination.
He has served to control a telescope observatory and operate
CCD cameras. He has also served as the primary droid
to control the Otis Robotic Virtual Cyber Space Telescope
seen at  http://home.midco.net/~otm/

He talks to another robot using spoken English.
Mobility and computer power are derived from a motorcycle battery.
A 9-volt battery powers the speech recognition board.
Accessories include a Sony 9-inch TV, RF modulator, experimenter's
power source, battery charger, and tool kit.

The back side contains a programmable power section
with custom etched printed circuit board, power meter,
and connectors for hardware programming. There are 
additional ports for talker experiments.

The brain is a surplus TS-1000 microcomputer with
added 8-port I/O board and expanded 16K RAM pack.
The brain, memory, mic., speech synthesis, and speech
recognition (at rear) reside at the top most level on a
tempered masonite platform. The ultrasonic eyes platform is
mounted under the top level on threaded rods.

The bottom level, made from plywood, contains
the ambient light eye and motion control mechanics.
Two large surplus DC-driven PM motors feed motion
via belts and pulleys. The middle level has relays, a battery,
and huge filtering capacitors. Tact sensors are located
on front and back. Each motor has isolation circuits to limit
power spikes and EMI.

In first demo mode, he navigates around the room announcing
himself, "I am Zylatron." (Loaded programs are kept nonvolatile
and changed using the membrane computer keyboard keys.)

Additional applications include education, robotics
experimentation, software programming in machine language
(ML) and BASIC, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Programs written in AI allow personal conversations.
While at the IPRC, I was approached by people interested
in utilizing Zylatron to dispense medication to the elderly.

He earned a red ribbon at the World's 1st International
Personal Robotics Conference in Albuquerque New Mexico,
appeared on national television, and was published in a book
(A Layman's Introduction to Robotics by Derek Kelly,
Petrocelli Books, Princeton NJ, ISBN 0-89433-265-1).


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