The IR beacons (infrared beacons) are
small devices that allow pairs of autonomous robots to detect each
other. You can use the beacons to build pairs of robots that interact or
chase one another, or to make a robot that can identify and return to a
home base. For example, you could build a "cat robot" and
"mouse robot" that each have an IR beacon, where the cat
chases the mouse and the mouse runs away from the cat.
The beacons are ideal for autonomous robot contests in which robots
compete in pairs. The IR beacon is a kit; before using it, you need to assemble
the beacon by soldering its components onto its circuit board. To use the kit in
robotics projects, you need to connect it to your own robot controller. Please
note that pricing is for one IR beacon.
||1.3" x 1.3"
|IR modulation frequency:
|Output Refresh rate
||6 inches to 20 feet
||0 and 5 V
|Number of IR detectors:
|Components in kit:
How the IR Beacons Work
The beacons work by transmitting and detecting infrared light, much
like a television remote control. Each beacon has four IR emitters and
four IR detectors. The beacons alternate between transmitting and
receiving so that they never get confused by reflections of their own
The transmit and detect cycle is carried out more than one thousand
times per second, and a small microcontroller monitors all four
detectors to decide the direction to the other beacon. The beacons have
four red LEDs that indicate the direction to the other beacon; if you
take two beacons and rotate them, the LEDs will always keep lighting up
in the direction of the other beacon.
Interfacing to the beacon is simple — it has four digital outputs
that indicate which of its four sides detects the other beacon the
strongest. You can establish the direction to another beacon to within a
few degrees by rotating the beacon back and forth and noting the point
where the output switches from one side to another. An enable input lets
you select between active mode and a low-power mode.
Please take a look at the user's
guide for assembly instructions and further discussion of how the beacon