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I have had some interest in robotics for some time, and I noticed that most people seem to build robots with microcontrollers and specialized circuitry. This seems pretty expensive and relatively limited (in terms of CPU power).
they sell usb to serial adaptors for like $20-ishmy laptop has 6 usb and zero serial . . . sigh . . .
Ive never done it, but it sounds doable to me . . .
found this serial PIC development board with relays thing today by accident:http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=20