What is CHARLI?

One use of VITO tools has been to design state machines that control microrobots. These tiny (200 um) devices would be fabricated using Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) on the same chip as digital logic. Fabricating MEMS chips is expensive, and it is hard to pick up and play with something smaller than a grain of salt. To help us gain intuition about these algorithms, we fabricated the Cylindrical Haptic Asynchronous Robotic Logic Interface (CHARLI), an inexpensive 10cm macrorobot (built from DC motors on a tuna can controlled by a Parallax Basic Stamp microcontroller ). Instead of having to code robot algorithms in the restricted dialect of BASIC supported by Parallax, we use VITOBS so that the identical Verilog code that would be synthesized onto the actual microrobots controls the macroscale CHARLI robot, although its speed is slow because the BasicStamp is slow, and it takes many BASIC statements to simulate one Verilog statement.

VITOBS contains an example, charlibounce12.v, that works with the CHARLI robot. See here for more details.

ARM, Parallax, BasicStamp, CUDA, Nvidia, Synopsys, Design Compiler, Xilinx, Virtex and Verilog are trademarks of their respective owners.

Updated Jan. 17, 2013.