The SparkFun AVC competition requires that the robot avoid obstacles placed in its way. These take the form of red 55 gallon drums. So if it was not hard enough to navigate around the building, trying to avoid the barrels is just that much harder. Now I think I have solutions for the waypoint navigation, but I am missing a good solution for the obstacles.
This weekend I went to a flea market with my wife. At one of the stalls a ran across an old plastic gun that connected to a computer game for “duck shoot” type games. Its a big orange revolver made by American Laser Games. So I took a chance an picked it up for a dollar.
At home I find it is mostly a lens and a phototransistor. An opamp, some discreets, a trigger switch, and a custom chip make up the rest. At the end of the cable is a gameport and a parallel port connector.
So now my obstacle avoidance system concept includes a modulated laser pointer pointing forward and a lens and phototransistor to pick up the dot. with a narrow enough field of view, this might just work.