[Dprglist] Creating a line following course with tape on wood floor - safe for the floor?

Murray Altheim murray18 at altheim.com
Thu Jan 14 13:16:22 PST 2021

Hi Chris,

I believe the glue of any tape, masking or not, will eventually either
harden (masking tape) or get oily (electrical tape). Most commercial-
quality masking tapes are graded by how many hours or days they can
safely remain on a surface before they begin to break down. Even the
lightest-tack tape will have that property. Consumer-grade tapes don't
generally list how long they're safe, and they use lower quality glues.
Commercial/industrial painters can't afford to have their tape pull up
their freshly painted surfaces so they demand high quality glues, with
fixed safety times.

You could possibly put your tape on a roll of thin carpet, sheet plastic,
tile squares, or plywood, but I myself wouldn't want that on the floor of
my house, or have to store it when not in use, whereas the tape would be
okay except for leaving its potential scars.

As to choice of masking tape, any of the low-tack, commercial-quality
tapes is probably good. I use a pale green tape from Saint-Gobain, but
I don't know if that's available in your area. I recently noticed a new,
very expensive, pale orange tape when I was last at my local hardware
store but I didn't get the brand name. I admit I'm also a bit of a
hardware store geek. Paint store geeks (especially the ones with a bit
of gray hair) are usually a fount of information on this kind of thing
-- they're just as enthusiastic about paints and solvents and such as
we are about robots.

The more expensive, low tack masking tapes probably wouldn't damage the
floor so much as leave a glue residue. This can be cleaned up with a
citrus (lemon or orange) oil "de-gunk" cleaner. While I'd certainly test
it on your floor first, these cleaners in my experience may even enhance
your wood floor.

David Anderson creates what I believe he calls a "virtual sensor" and
bounds the movement of his robots using a fixed size box, so the robot
never goes outside of the set bounds. One of his robot videos shows it
going down a hallway and suddenly hitting the boundary of this invisible
box, then turning back. This is to my understanding done entirely using
odometry, possibly supplemented with an IMU.

I'm sure David can explain it better, but basically you'd just need to
set up a virtual box and have your robot navigate its boundary. This
wouldn't require any floor markings, and possibly fit with your requirements.



On 15/01/21 8:28 am, Chris N via DPRGlist wrote:
> All,
> I’d like to create a line following course on my hardwood floor (dark finish), by putting down some light colored masking tape.
> Basically I’m looking for a way by which I can have my robot travel on a certain path in a repeatable manner, so that I can collect data from various sensors (e.g. Lidar) for subsequent analysis.   (for example, feed the data offline into 
> various mapping algorithms to see which one is best able to deal with the data and/or tune the parameters of a specific mapping and navigation algorithm )
> [...]...........................................................................
Murray Altheim <murray18 at altheim dot com>                       = =  ===
http://www.altheim.com/murray/                                     ===  ===
                                                                    = =  ===
     In the evening
     The rice leaves in the garden
     Rustle in the autumn wind
     That blows through my reed hut.
            -- Minamoto no Tsunenobu

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