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Author Topic: Hi and does such a thing exist?  (Read 2438 times)

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Offline TarksTopic starter

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Hi and does such a thing exist?
« on: October 17, 2007, 11:34:07 AM »
Hey, I'm interested in making my own robots/general electrical devices, I'm a games programmer at University and I have very decent c++ programming skills.

My problem is that I have very little electrical/engineering skill, which is something that I hope to change by building stuff, however at the moment I'd like to get started fairly quickly with something that I can write code for on the PC (preferably in something more abstract than assembly, c++ would be a great help) and send/flash to a PIC/chip which will then let me add sensors/displays etc when and if I need them. I guess I'm looking for something pre-build but very extendible, does this exist?

Offline jchahn

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Re: Hi and does such a thing exist?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2007, 05:48:11 PM »
I am also highly interested in the same question.  I'm a senior CS major and I want to start tinkering with robotics.  Obviously, I have a strong programming background as I'm a Senior and I've been working as a software development intern for 1.5 years.

Ideally, I would like a kit that is initially simple from an electronics/mechanics standpoint, but highly robust from a programming standpoint.  I want to use this as a way to do my own AI/Logic research, and also add audio/visual input for things like line following and image recognition.  I would like to be able to make it more and more complex overtime from a mechanical/electrical standpoint, so it needs to be expandable and customizable.

I think we are looking for very similar things.

I will keep an eye on this thread.  I'm looking for suggestions to fit my criteria, if any such thing exists.

Offline paulstreats

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Re: Hi and does such a thing exist?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2007, 06:41:34 PM »
i think your best idea would be to buy an 'evaluation' board. (atmel, microchip )
These usually have a microprocessor, with pins for inputs/outputs, uarts, leds on board, switches and pushbuttons on board etc.. and quite often come with development software and example codes to get you started. Meaning you can start using the board without any soldering.

They dont come with any sensors, but these usually just plug in easy enough.

There are also a lot of robot bases with wheels and motors installed which you can put your evaluation board onto.

There are also a lot of robot kits which include an evaluation board style system you just have to shop around

go here to find lists of suppliers

http://www.societyofrobots.com/robot_parts_list.shtml

http://www.active-robots.com/products/controllr/

these are robot kits with mcu controllers installed
http://www.active-robots.com/products/robots/programmable.shtml

Offline JesseWelling

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Re: Hi and does such a thing exist?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2007, 10:16:51 PM »
I recommend ATMEGA or ARM processors for CS majors starting in robotics (or embedded software) because both architectures have gcc compilers and other free (beer and speech) tools, libraries, and Real Time Operating Sysems.

As far as tinkering with robotics without paying for any thing check this out: http://playerstage.sourceforge.net/

Offline TarksTopic starter

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Re: Hi and does such a thing exist?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2007, 03:02:36 AM »
Cheers for the help guys, so from the active-robots page (as it seems to be UK based) what hardware would you recommend I buy, remembering that fact that I would prefer to program in C++ to keep object orientated and I have NO EQUIPMENT other than my computer at the moment?

I know it's cheeky asking someone to help with this but I don't have enough money to buy the wrong kind and end up with ?50-60 of useless stuff.

EDIT

Just to check, WinAVR can compile c++ programs into code that can run http://www.active-robots.com/products/controllr/active-boards.shtml Those boards? If not, what's the best chip that has a c++ compiler?

MOREEdit

Apparently WinAVR hasn't implemented all c++ features, sourceBoost has, but it says it oly works with PIC16, PIC18 and some PIC12 chips, I'm guessing that the "ATtiny26 Development Board" and the "ATmega32 Development Board" wonk work with that, is this true?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2007, 05:14:33 AM by Tarks »

Offline paulstreats

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Re: Hi and does such a thing exist?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2007, 07:38:40 AM »
unfortunately there is only a small handful of mcu's that are object orientated such as the oopic, although there is no c++ compiler for it. There is a C compiler but a think this is also still in development.
I think if you go with an ATMEGA or ARM like jessewelling recommends, you can simulate objects by using one of the rtos systems and using threads as objects.
Also try to shop around a bit, you may get a cheaper board somewhere, and if you are willing to do a bit of soldering work, you can make your own evaluation board for a fraction of the price.


Sourceboost compiles for pic chips from microchip such as the pic16f877a

here is the mirochip direct order site on the pic evaluation boardspage
http://www.microchipdirect.com/ProductDetails.aspx?Catalog=BuyMicrochip&Category=PIC%20Proof%20of%20Concept%20Kits&mid=13&treeid=6

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c++ isnt very common with mcu programming, its still a bit too high level unfortunately, i havent looked at the sourceboost compiler but you may find that it wont compile objects or threads for mcu's.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2007, 07:49:26 AM by paulstreats »

Offline Fredrik Andersson

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Re: Hi and does such a thing exist?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2007, 10:18:08 AM »
Quote
I guess I'm looking for something pre-build but very extendible


You should look into the Arduino board:

www.arduino.cc

With this board, you don't need an programmer to flash the program to the microchip because it has an build in bootloader which is able to receive a program through its USB port. Also, it is very extendible, it's made for custom uses.
Current project: Pirrh - Portable Intelligent Round Rolling Hexapod

 


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