“A few years back in high school I worked on building the robot described in the 1979 book “How to Build Your Own Working Robot Pet” by Frank DaCosta. The robot was controlled by an 8085 (an 8-bit microprocessor), and required a ton of 74xx series logic chips to interface to the various control and sensor systems on the robot.
For my senior design project in college, I wanted to create a new robot where all of the control logic would be integrated onto a single chip, and so Pet on a Chip was born. This new robot improved upon the original by drastically reducing power consumption, size, weight, and improving maneuverability, and all of the control logic was implemented on an FPGA. This project built off of my TinySoC project I had worked on during the summer.
The robot’s FPGA contains the following modules:
- A custom 8-bit CPU with on-chip memory
- A simple text mode VGA graphics controller
- Twin closed loop motor speed controllers
- A servo controller
- An interface to a sonar module
- A UART