Posts Tagged ‘Johan de Boer’

1968c – Cybernetic Mouse – Johan de Boer (Dutch*)

The mouse machine was built around two servo motors. One is underneath the robot and drives the two rear wheels. The second servo, visible in the front part, moves a steering wheel to the left or right. There are three of those old fashioned relays visible on the left, used to activate the servo motors. All around the robot are a series of bumper contacts that provide collision information. There are two light sensitive cells in the two tubes in front that serve as eyes to steer towards a light source. It would drive around and the direction would be determined by the relative levels of light coming form the right and the left. And it worked its way around obstacles using the bumpers. This was built in the late 1960's and as far as Johan remembers it worked quite well.

(*-Johan de Boer currently lives in Canada.)

1970-3 – Computer Maze – Johan de Boer (Dutch*)

Johan de Boer's description (from private correspondence 2010)

"A second project [ RH: to the Cybernetic Mouse] was the maze where a light was used to indicate the position of an imaginary mouse in the maze. The maze could be changed with small removable barriers. Each square had a small light bulb that would be on if the (imaginary) mouse would be in that square. This whole thing was a cube with sides of about 20 cm. Unfortunately there is no photo and this thing was lost (or scavaged, possibly).
This maze/mouse was controlled with a small especially designed and build computer. This was about 1970-1973. I still have the computer (two photos are attached), and I recently discovered that I still have the schematics for the computer (see pdf here). It was build with about 100 of the 74 series chips, set on 5 circuitboards with an aweful lot of wiring. It has a 1kb (kilobit, not kilobyte) memory chip into which a total of 64 instructions could be loaded. This would run programs at a speed of at most 200 instructions per second (illustrates my electronics skills, I guess). It would query the condition of the maze and sent instructions to the maze in order to change the light bulb that was illuminated. I could then alter the programming in order to come up with something that would learn its way through the maze. The computer, of course was a general purpose machine that could be used to control anything, even an elaborate electric trainset, I would think. "

(*-Johan de Boer currently lives in Canada.)

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