# Any Idea how this thing work?

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#### dknguyen

##### Well-Known Member
It's a following robot. Search for that. Motors and steering controlled by a sensor circuit that detects an IR or RFID beacon.

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#### crutschow

##### Well-Known Member
I assume the person is carrying some type of beacon. The trick is how do you keep it from getting too close or running you over? In addition to locating the direction to the person it's following, it also needs to sense the distance. Perhaps it uses signal intensity, ultrasonic rangefinder,...? Sounds like an interesting design problem.

#### gabeNC

##### Member
In the video, it showed the golfer receiving a small box which I assume to be the "beacon". I would also assume there would be a "stop" button to prevent the machine from running away while you switched clubs or following you into a sand trap. Maybe there is a "kill" option to run your mother-in-law down.

#### happytriger2000

##### Member
I did a similar prototype in my final year in London, back in year 2003, and It was called " Follow-Me" Robot. It was a simple design by using IR beam transmitter and 2 receiver where one of the receiver controls left motor and the other receiver controls the right motor. I've never stop looking for clues to upgrade my project, then I searched the net on following robot and found Shadow Caddy which is what I wanted to do, but not for Golf. It is very impresive what shadow Caddy is capable of and the electronic design is what I'm after. I'm still hoping to complete my design, but need someone to help on electronics, hoping anyone in the forum could help,

Cheerio

#### happytriger2000

##### Member
I assume the person is carrying some type of beacon. The trick is how do you keep it from getting too close or running you over? In addition to locating the direction to the person it's following, it also needs to sense the distance. Perhaps it uses signal intensity, ultrasonic rangefinder,...? Sounds like an interesting design problem.
I know that Omron makes some type of IR sensor which detects objects in certain range and when sensed it gives a signal out, similar to automatic door in shopping mall or restaurants.

#### Mr RB

##### Well-Known Member
Sharp make a heap of "GPxxxxx" sensors that do the same, ie return distance to target.

The simplest way I can think of doing it though, is to have 1 IR transmitter on the person and 2 IR receivers on the robot, spaced apart with angular shielding. So the robot will turn and head towards the transmitter if it is to the side or ahead at a distance, BUT if the transmitter is too close the signal is shielded and the robot loses signal so it stops.

You could do the whole thing with a few junkbox parts.

#### happytriger2000

##### Member
Sharp make a heap of "GPxxxxx" sensors that do the same, ie return distance to target.

The simplest way I can think of doing it though, is to have 1 IR transmitter on the person and 2 IR receivers on the robot, spaced apart with angular shielding. So the robot will turn and head towards the transmitter if it is to the side or ahead at a distance, BUT if the transmitter is too close the signal is shielded and the robot loses signal so it stops.

You could do the whole thing with a few junkbox parts.
Hi Mr RB,
That's what I did in year 2003, the negative side was: you have to make sure the transmitter is pointing at both receiver if you want the robot to move straight, which most the time i got right, but sometime not. Shadow Caddy does ot need to point a transmitter to a receiver, I'm guesing it uses some kind of radio device, am I right?

#### colin55

This product was designed by an inventor just down the road from me. He has spent over $300,000 on it. He demonstrated all the features in a recent seminar. The electronics are so complex that it took a University to program the microcontroller. He doesn't sell them. He just rents them to golf courses. The costs per unit are about$4,500 to $6,500 from what I can remember. #### happytriger2000 ##### Member This product was designed by an inventor just down the road from me. He has spent over$300,000 on it. He demonstrated all the features in a recent seminar. The electronics are so complex that it took a University to program the microcontroller.
He doesn't sell them. He just rents them to golf courses. The costs per unit are about $4,500 to$6,500 from what I can remember.
Hi Colin,
WOW 4000 ~ 6000 per unit, that is alot.

#### Mr RB

##### Well-Known Member
This product was designed by an inventor just down the road from me. He has spent over $300,000 on it. He demonstrated all the features in a recent seminar. The electronics are so complex that it took a University to program the microcontroller. He doesn't sell them. He just rents them to golf courses. The costs per unit are about$4,500 to $6,500 from what I can remember. Wow cool info. I'm always amazied when someone has to spend$300,000 and needs the "resources of a University" to design something you can do with 2 comparators.

Ok, that's a joke, I realise the $300k was probably to set up for manufacturing etc rather than just the cost of some hardware to make a working prototype which really wouldn't be difficult to design at all. #### colin55 ##### Well-Known Member The plastic casing alone cost$50,000 for the mould.
And the electronics cost him tens of thousands of dollars for the software. In everything he got made, he was cheated.
That's the way everything and everyone, works.
In fact everyone who comes to the Inventors meetings has been cheated by everyone they meet - from Patent attorneys to getting 10 cents in the dollar from the large department stores.

#### mneary

##### New Member
And he does he feed his family, or is he leasing his carts to the golf courses at no cost because he's a nice guy?

#### colin55

##### Well-Known Member
He has just stung 10 of his investors about $50,000 to$60,000 each.

#### Mr RB

##### Well-Known Member
$50k for a large injection molding mold and design, setup etc sounds quite reasonable. But wow someone at the Uni charged him "tens of thousands of dollars" for the software?? He should have just come here and told everyone he was working on his final year project! I hear you on the "inventors" getting burnt. The trouble is that every noob with just an idea in their head thinks they are an inventor and that someone else will do the design/programming/legalities/manufacturing and they will get rich just because they had an idea one day. Sad but true. Idea's themselves are worth zip, being smart enough to turn your idea into a working prototype (especially on a shoestring) is worth millions. Part of the trouble is that greedy ignorant people with just an idea expect someone else to make them rich from it. What does "stung his investors for$50k" mean? Did he rip them off? Or just passed the development bills along to them?

#### colin55

##### Well-Known Member
Maybe he didn't rip his investors off, but I certainly don't think any of them would have seen a return on their investment.

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