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Author Topic: Laptop/Wireless microcontroller Robot Kit Suggestions  (Read 2997 times)

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Offline jackpTopic starter

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Laptop/Wireless microcontroller Robot Kit Suggestions
« on: January 02, 2008, 11:46:27 PM »
Hi,

I am very new to robot building (my background is computer science/computer vision) and have been looking to buy a starter kit from a vendor such as VEX robotics. 

But I want to eventually replace the microcontroller that comes with the kit with a smallish laptop mounted on the unit (ie Asus EEE) or a remote computer as the micro-controller communicating to the robot via wireless (802.11, bluetooth, etcetc).  I was wondering if there are any starter kits which can be eventually "modified" to do this.

I understand I should "get my feet wet" with a robot that operates on a simple program.  But my end goal is to learn enough to create a robot that takes stereo video sequences and "move" and "map" based on real-time video processed with custom computer vision and AI algorithms I wish to program.

Any other advise or pointers would be greatly appreciated.  I am not adverse to "rolling up my sleeves" to make modifications but I would like to "spend wisely" and potentially re-use many parts from my starter kit for what I want to eventually build. 

Thanks
Jack

Offline bulkhead

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Re: Laptop/Wireless microcontroller Robot Kit Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2008, 12:25:45 AM »
You will most likely still need a microcontroller to interface with all of the hardware even if you have something like a laptop doing the major computing.  A microcontroller communicates with a computer through a serial port.  You will just need a usb-serial converter, then a set protocol for transfering sensor data/motor commands from the micro to the laptop/laptop to the micro.

Offline jackpTopic starter

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Re: Laptop/Wireless microcontroller Robot Kit Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2008, 11:29:44 AM »
Yeah - as far as laptop controlling the robot, it seems like you can have a laptop reprogram the microcontroller but I don't see anything out there which allows a laptop to act as the actual microcontroller.

Or do they sell some sort of wireless sensor (which attaches wirelessly between Bot and a laptop) so I can program the Bot to move based on the sensor input but control the sensor input remotely from my laptop?

I don't think Vex has any sensor like this. But any other vendor's have this type of sensor? And will I be able to use an aftermarket sensor with the Vex microcontroller (in case I chose to "get my feet wet" with the Vex starter kit)?

Thanks!!
Jack

Offline Half Shell

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Re: Laptop/Wireless microcontroller Robot Kit Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2008, 04:51:11 PM »
Hey Jack! Welcome to the forum!

I had the idea of making the EEE a robot brain not too long ago myself (http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=2737.0 ) and I have to say I am eager to know if you pull it off.

I have significant experience with VEX - any part of it can be ran by a micro controller - you just need to know how to wire it. It was actually done well and none of the motors, servos, or sensors prevent you in any way from using it with another micro controller.

As for a wireless center to read sensor values and then respond, check out Sun's Sun Spots. Sun, the creator of Java, sells these for 300 dollars. It consists of a base station and 2 "sun spots". The sun spots have multiple sensors in them - including accelerometers and gyroscopes. While my friends have worked with them I myself am yet to get a chance to do anything with them myself so I can't attest to their quality.

Your project interests me though. Keep me posted!

 


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