I'm planning to tackle the $50 robot "challenge". In fact, I'm ready to pay much more than $50, because robotics is my field of study (majoring in electronics engineering), and if I decided to choose this tutorial it is mostly because of the amazing resources and the clarity in which the information is presented. Thank you for that, Admin!
Anyway, the thing is: I am an absolute newbie in terms of mechanical construction, soldering and actually putting together anything electronic. University in my country is really theoretical! But the part I know a bit more about is programming. I have some experience with Assembly, and I've done some assignments at my Uni that involved programming AVR microcontrollers using AVR studio, debugging with a JTAG Ice MkII. I loved doing that and I'd like to fiddle with the code of my robot and try to program it myself.
That said, here come my first problems. I guess I need a debugger, but the JTAG Ice MkII I'm accustomed to using is prohibitively expensive, at least for now. I've seen it goes around $270. So, I was thinking of getting myself an AVR Dragon. What do you think of it? Is it a good tool? Also, I like working on a Linux environment so I wonder if there is a good open source alternative to AVR studio, that doesn't mean shooting myself in the foot too much.
Back to the actual mechanical construction: I wouldn't mind investing in some durable wheels for my robot, considering I'll likely reuse them, so... Is there any alternative for the wheels on the $50 robot (and also the chassis if necessary) that you have used succesfully?
Thank you in advance for your help. If I have any more questions I'll keep posting here!