Tom Servo is my first robot. This robot competed in the Dallas Personal Robotics Group's competition held in September 1998. The name Tom Servo comes from a character in the television show Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Although Tom Servo competed in the competition, there was an awful lot not working correctly. To start with my choice of steppers for the differential motor drivers for the wheels, proved to be a disaster. As the robot's weight increased, the steppers were just too weak to drive the platform. On the plus side I learned a lot about driving stepper motors.
My plan to use Forth on the robot had to be delayed as the problems with the motors, caused me to burn up all the time I had allotted to debug the Forth kernel. The Forth kernel works for a short time now, but the dictionary gets corrupted at some point and the system must be reset in order to continue. During the contest I fell back to very simple assembly coded words to actually move and turn the robot. For this first competition I only competed in the Quick Time contest.
I have put most of the detail in my workbook
workbook.zip Caution: This file is big (~650K)
Right now Tom Servo is not what it should be. Here is a list of short term things to do,
You can send e-mail to Brad Garton
concerning this page or Garton family research in general.