Author Topic: Robot From Computer  (Read 1676 times)

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Offline VitaminBTopic starter

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Robot From Computer
« on: June 29, 2008, 04:09:47 AM »
Hi! A long time ago I had a little robot I programmed in basic or pbasic or something. Now I have been programming in C++ as a hobby creating windows applications, mostly games, for many years. I was wondering how I should go about making a robot from a computer using say the usb port. I know there is a free program for Microsoft that is for programming robots.

Thank you

Offline izua

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Re: Robot From Computer
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2008, 05:44:23 AM »
Hi, and welcome to the SOR forums!

Well, to use the usb port, you'll need knowledge of the usb specs. A better idea would be the parallel port (simplest electronics) or the serial port (some electronics will be involved). Using usb, you either need to know the specs, or get a usb-serial converter and do the same as if using a serial port.

To make any kind of autonomous system, you need three things. Acuators, sensors and software. All these need to be somehow linked, so you will need knowledge of electronics, mechanics (hey, you can't call a motor on a table a robot). You already have the software part, so, the next logical step, in my view, is to choose a microcontroller. These guys are computers on a chip, and will serve you to communicate with the "big" computer, or can be the computer by itself (you can write code for them in the language of your choice).

 In parallel, you'd need to get the grasp of basic electronics: get a breadboard, some leds, some resistors (220ohm, 1k, 10k), some capacitors (small values pf/nf range will do) and a bunch of transistors (everything low power is ok, bc547 is a ubiquitos one) - make sure they are npn, since these are mostly spread in internet schematics.

Also, get your microcontroller. I'd recommend AVR, stay away from PICs. They are nice, but they will limit you. I discovered this after a year and half of working with them. The code you will write for the microcontroller will have to be downloaded somehow into it (think of it as a DVD-WR/DVD analogy. you can't write DVDs if you don't have a DVD writer). The device that downloads the code into the AVR is called a programmer. Common designs are available, using either the parallel, serial or usb port.

Last, you will need to get some soldering skills. Since every robot is a mixup of electronics, you need to connect those electronics somehow. You can also build the whole thing on a breadboard (something that allows you to stick/take out components from it, without any soldering).

Also, heck out the tutorials on the main page, they have a lot of pointers.

Check out my homepage for in depth tutorials on microcontrollers and electronics.

Offline ALZ

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Re: Robot From Computer
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2008, 02:14:44 AM »
I would stay away from using a PC for robots. They take too much power. Some people use them because they can just plug in a web cam. But then what? Unless you are very good at programming the PC, it is hard to get all the inputs you need to feed to the computer to work together with the other programs.


Offline airman00

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Re: Robot From Computer
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2008, 06:59:05 PM »
I agree dont use a computer if you plan to only use like 10 of its outputs and inputs . Thats a waste . Plus computers are heavy and power hungry
Check out the Roboduino, Arduino-compatible board!

Link: http://curiousinventor.com/kits/roboduino



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