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Series of projects: Is the Axon / Axon II right for me?

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bukowski:
Hello all, it has been quite some time since I posted here, or done any robotics projects.

I did the $50 robot some time ago, and have done some electronics courses and programming classes in the past, but much of it has been brain-dumped.

I am taking a Robotics class at the local JC, and they are using the VEX platform. I am going to ask the professor if I can use an alternate curriculum, doing my own design and coding. I know the guy, and the odds are good that he will approve it if I can get him interested in it.

I plan on using the time to step myself through microcontroller programming. I plan to start with simply writing code from scratch (borrowing from libraries, but I'd like to learn what the hell im looking at) to:
Activate a port
Figure out PWM and servo control (then modify 2 servos for cont. rotation)
Figure out UART to recieve RPM data to test modified servo speeds (probably use a something super simple like a switch for an encoder)
Collect data from IR or sonar range finder
Attempt to build/program a simple line follower or object avoider (midterm)
Build a simple balance bot with 1 or 2 rangefinders
Figure out and collect data from a gyro/accelerometer.
Build a more complicated balance bot that can either line-follow or object-avoid.

So I guess my questions are:
Is this possible for someone that is a hair past beginner?
Is the Axon/Axon II a good fit?

newInRobotics:
Yes to both questions :)

bukowski:
Good enough for me! Thanks NIR! ;D

jwatte:

--- Quote ---I am going to ask the professor if I can use an alternate curriculum
--- End quote ---

My honest opinion: In school, stay as closely to the charted path as possible for coursework. Spend the minimum work necessary to excel -- if it's a subject you're really good at, that won't be hard. Then do all the extracurricular stuff outside of the curriculum. Not until the PhD level do you need to actually think yourself, and managing your time wisely to get through all the classes is more important before then. (And, indeally, you go into industry after a M.Sc, rather than spend another 10 years chasing a mostly theoretical degree ;-)

Admin:
The Axon is meant to be easy enough for a beginner - but plenty of room for doing more advanced stuff. If you get stuck, you'll get full support from me on this forum. I don't abandon my customers :P



--- Quote from: jwatte on January 28, 2013, 08:01:18 PM ---My honest opinion: In school, stay as closely to the charted path as possible for coursework. Spend the minimum work necessary to excel -- if it's a subject you're really good at, that won't be hard. Then do all the extracurricular stuff outside of the curriculum. Not until the PhD level do you need to actually think yourself, and managing your time wisely to get through all the classes is more important before then.

--- End quote ---
I don't quite agree. Students are too concerned with getting good grades. After you graduate, no one could care less about what your grades were. They care about what your skills are. When you do homework and study for tests, don't worry about your grades. Worry about what you'll learn, and what you'll actually remember one month after you take that test.

What I didn't like about course material is it was just mindlessly following a list of instructions (written 10 years ago) to get a good grade. Instead, you should be thinking for yourself and actually understand what you're doing. To substitute boring course material for something you enjoy kills two birds with one stone. To combine coursework with extracurricular projects is a great idea :)


--- Quote --- (And, indeally, you go into industry after a M.Sc, rather than spend another 10 years chasing a mostly theoretical degree ;-)
--- End quote ---
Agreed.

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