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Author Topic: Series of projects: Is the Axon / Axon II right for me?  (Read 612 times)

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Offline bukowskiTopic starter

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Series of projects: Is the Axon / Axon II right for me?
« on: January 28, 2013, 02:41:04 PM »
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?

Offline newInRobotics

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Re: Series of projects: Is the Axon / Axon II right for me?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 02:50:23 PM »
Yes to both questions :)
"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Kristian W

Offline bukowskiTopic starter

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Re: Series of projects: Is the Axon / Axon II right for me?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 06:16:13 PM »
Good enough for me! Thanks NIR! ;D

Offline jwatte

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Re: Series of projects: Is the Axon / Axon II right for me?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 08:01:18 PM »
Quote
I am going to ask the professor if I can use an alternate curriculum

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 ;-)

Offline Admin

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Re: Series of projects: Is the Axon / Axon II right for me?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 11:02:53 AM »
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


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.
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 ;-)
Agreed.

Offline jwatte

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Re: Series of projects: Is the Axon / Axon II right for me?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 01:53:49 PM »
Quote from: admin
Spend the minimum work necessary to excel
I don't quite agree. Students are too concerned with getting good grades.

Good point -- what I meant by "excel" was mastering the actual subject matter. You're going to need to master a large number of subjects, some of which you're not particularly interested in. Focus all your school work on mastering those subjects -- especially the ones that aren't easy for you.
Then, for the things you really like, go off the reservation and do your own thing, but under your own auspices. For example: Even though you may love game AI, don't try to cram an advanced Starcraft play bot into your comp sci curriculum. Instead, do the simplest possible project that will show you have mastery within the Comp Sci curriculum, and then separately work on the Starcraft play bot outside of school. And I repeat: Do the simplest possible project that will show that you have mastery. This will let you take the interesting work in any direction YOU want to go, without worrying about it hitting a particular curriculum requirement, or particular schedule.

Same thing for robots: Don't try to cram your favorite robot project into whatever class it might fit. Instead, pick a simple project that will demonstrate mastery within the class, and work on your robot in your own free time. (This is assuming that you are able to achieve mastery within the class -- if you don't, then you shouldn't be spending too much time on your own projects at all :-)

Being very clear about what is school work, and what is your own work, will make it much easier to spend your time wisely.

 


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