General Misc > Misc

Robotics for Beginners?

(1/3) > >>

Hello everyone,
I am currently a freshman in university, going to study Electronic and Communications Engineering.
I have an interest in robotics and would like to try to make a robot.
I've done some research on the web and are planning to buy a starter kit for making a robot.
I looked here , and I decided to get either one of them (Lego Mindstorms, VEXrobotics, qfix, BOE or Arduino)
I'm confused on which one I should take and so I decided to drop in to a Robotics forum (this site, yay) to ask the fellow veterans on which starter kit should I get.
I would like to ask you guys to recommend me which one is better?
(FYI: I am currently learning C++ and I have touched Microsoft Visual Basic before)

Thanks in advance.

I have the tendency to go with Arduino, as I have the ebooks guide for it and also I have heard that Arduino is really good, but I'm not quite sure.
Also, I'm not really sure about getting Vex and Mindstorms as they are so expensive!

The Arduino is very popular so there is lots of users and examples. This is just a Microcontroller board not a robot starter kit. You will need all the other parts to build a robot.

A very good start is build the $50 (may now cost ~ $80) robot. You can find the tutorial by clicking on "Robot Tutorials" at the top right of this screen. In there are also other tutorials and articles on each topic needed to build a robot. Good reading.
The $50 Robot project will get you started in a very hands-on manner so that you will learn the basic skills in which to later expand the project and/or later go with a Arduino.
Or you may want to get a Axon I or II board since these were design specially for robots.
The $50 robot uses the same family processor so the learned programming skills will transfer to either of these boards.

Thank you very much for the quick reply!

I see. So this one is not considered a Starter Pack?
So, if Arduino is considered as a Microcontroller board, I'm wondering that is it almost the same as Xilinx BASYS board? (the one I am using in my university now)

Well, as a university student I have very limited money, and so I have to save up a lot in order to buy these robots things (I couldn't dig out money from my parents' pockets, as this is considered my personal hobby), that is why I'm thinking of buying a kit that can be used over and over again until at least I'm getting the hang of robotics.

So as a starter, you recommended me to first build the $50 robot first so that I can get a taste of robotics?
Then I can move on to the Axon I and Axon II?
What are those anyway? I have never heard of them before.
Care to elaborate?

Thank you very much.

EDIT: I've just read about Picaxe here
Which one is better, Arduino or Picaxe?

That is an Arduino Starter Pack that contains lots of things for the Arduino board to measure and control. It has many items that could be used for a robot but not everything (it is not a robot starter kit).

The Axon is very much like the Arduino and is sold by the Admin of this forum. Search/look through these forums for more about both the Arduino and the Axon boards.

Avoid the PICAXE. It uses a built in interpreter that is slow and limited. It is designed as a very easy to program entry level board for younger people. At the college level you should go with a real programming language such as assembler or C for PIC or AVR (Arduino & Axon) processors.

The Xilinx BASYS board has an FPGA not a micro-controller (processor). Now one can place a processor core into an FPGA (with Verilog or VHDL code) but the basics are a bit different.
It sounds like you really need to do a bunch more reading about these devices.
Did you read all to info on the Arduino? Then download and skim the data sheet for the processor used on the Arduino?

Did you read any of the tutorials and articles in the "Robot Tutorial" page?

I understand your limited budget so am suggesting not to rush into buying something until your understand what it is you are buying.
Does your university have a robot or electronics club? If not maybe start one.
Or is there a professor that teaches micro-processors? Maybe he/she has some processor boards (maybe even an Arduino) that you could use to learn with. Ask the professor in the course where you use the Xilinx BASYS board. He/she should know.

Oh okay. So what is the main difference between Arduino and Axon?

I'm one guy who is willing to learn, so I might not have a problem with the learning curve of something (especially as there are lots of tutorials in the internet to help me in case I got stuck)

Yes, I'm planning to do some robotics related readings during my semester break, and I'm planning to buy my Robotics Starter Kit at the start of the next semester (with the money I have been saving up this semester), so that I can try experimenting with it during the second semester.

I have read some of the articles and tutorials on robotics but certainly not all of them. There are too many of them and I find them quite overwhelming (there are also lots of articles in, that is why I could not finish reading all the articles in a short period of time.

Yes. I understand. That is why I'm posting in this forum to ask others' opinions on what I should buy.

And yes, my university has a robotics club, but it is not very popular (unlike other university's robotics club), hence there are only a few people in it. And also, the seniors are quite shy (maybe because of language barrier? Because I'm an international student in my university, whilst they are locals), it is quite difficult to get information out of them.
The only thing I could figure out from them is that they used Solidworks to design their robots and MPLAB to program their boards, but still it isn't a useful piece of information  :-\

Yes, in my "Introduction to Electrical and Electronic Engineering" course, we are using the FPGA board to do some of the lab projects, but as those boards are only lend to us during the laboratory session, I could not have much time to experiment with it.
I have tried looking in the internet for a Xilinx BASYS board, but it is quite costly (around $60), so I don't think I'll get one myself.
I'm not sure though if my professor has an Arduino board..


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version