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

David Anderson davida at smu.edu
Thu Jan 14 21:08:27 PST 2021

Chris, Murray

Following on from Murray's Musings (TM), an easier to way to accomplish 
the same thing would be just to navigate around a waypoint list.  
However that depends on accurate location information, odometry, etc, 
already existing.   It seems like the task at  hand is collecting and 
analyzing data from various sources while the robot is moving, in 
service of generating that very location information.  Horse then cart.

So a tape mark on the floor with a LF sensor is probably more accurate 
and more repeatable at this point.

I'm with Murray on the general nastiness of sticky tape.  Don't put it 
down on your nice wooden floors.   Do you have access to a garage?


On 1/14/21 3:16 PM, Murray Altheim via DPRGlist wrote:
> 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.
> Cheers,
> Murray
> 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/ ===  ===
> = =  ===
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>            -- Minamoto no Tsunenobu
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