Author Topic: New to Robotics  (Read 4457 times)

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Offline leightTopic starter

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New to Robotics
« on: June 21, 2006, 06:23:08 PM »
Hey guys,

I am completly new here, and to the world of robotics. I have just started to get interested in robots actually. How? Well I stumbled upon Sony's QRIO (http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/QRIO/) a couple of days ago and thought to myself "wouldn't it be awesome to be able to make something that moves!". Now I know that robot (any for that matter) would be no easy task, so I've been looking around for a Robot Kit to get me started. Thanks to the thread at http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=28832, I think I may have found my first Robot (http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=28832).

Now I know nothing about making robots and how they work bar from the tutorial on this site. I know you have to code it and somehow the code talks to a chip which talks to whatever it wants to (motors/lights and whatnot). Is that what they call STAMP? Anyway, what I'd like to do is purchase this Robot Kit (a bit pricey, but hey :)) and build it. What I would eventually like to make a robot that drives around the house by itself, dodging obstacles and returning to my room when the battery starts to get low. I guess it would need to know a map of my house somehow so it can go to a room you specify. Now for some advice. Is this insainly hard for a beginner? My intention here is not to be rude and disrespectful (in the way that saying robots are easy, because I have no idea), but to learn, to start from the bottom and slowly work my way up.

What I would like to know is what spec computer do you need to code the Robot with. You see, I own an iMac G5 running the latest OS X, Tiger. Can you code robots through the Mac system, or do you need a PC. I do have a PC (P4, 1.5 with 128mb RAM), but I tend to use my Mac for design. For code experience, I have experience with Macros in Word/Excel/AutoCAD using Microsoft VB (or whatever it is that comes with Office), html, css, php and actionscript (Macromedia Flash). Can I code it from my iMac, or do I need to get out that 'ol PC?

What is the point of this topic you say? I was just wondering what direction to take in terms of learning Robotics. My guess is start with that Robot Kit, then try and make my own that can wonder around dodging obstacles, know where it is in the house and return when the battery is low. As you would have much more experience than me, what steps do you suggest I take?

Thanks :)

- leighton

Edit: Maybe I should state that I have finished High School (19 next month), so I'm not a total beginner in Maths or Science. I actually did Tech (Metal/Wood/Plastic) in Senior High, so I could make parts with that also (chasis for example).


Sony's QRIO for those who don't know.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2006, 06:27:31 PM by leight »

Offline Admin

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Re: New to Robotics
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2006, 11:45:47 AM »
QRIO is one of my fav robots, sad it was discontinued . . .

A possible useful thread to read:
http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=13.0

To build a robot that can move around and avoid obstacles is a little difficult, but you certainly can accomplish this by your 2nd or 3rd robot you build. The simplest robot control algorithm for a beginner would be the photovore:
http://www.societyofrobots.com/programming_photoresistor.shtml

Start with that first, and you can upgrade your robot later when you understand things better. To build a robot that can return to your room is much more difficult. Requires much higher processing, better sensors, and a lot more intelligence on your robot. Robot navigation and mapping is still a huge subject in current research by leading experts. Dont even think about trying it for your first robot  :P

As for the Stamp you speak about, that is a particular type of microcontroller. To know more:
http://www.societyofrobots.com/microcontroller_tutorial.shtml

As for programming robots . . . Your ghetto old PC is more than enough I think. To program, you will need compiler software. The ability to program with a mac solely rests on the compiling software being mac'able (its a word because I said it is).  :P The compiler depends on the language you program in, and the microcontroller you plan to use. Check their specs. My recommendation is to program in C using a PC . . . dont use higher level languages unless you want a full pc on your bot.

I will let you chew on these thoughts for a bit, so feel free to ask more questions when you think of them. Feel free to browse the other tutorials for ideas. Just remember to approach your first robot creation with heavy modification in mind - make room for inevitable mistakes.

ps - Your Tech experience will be extremely useful for you. Try getting 3D CAD software too, I just cant imagine building a robot without it anymore . . .
« Last Edit: September 03, 2006, 09:31:56 AM by Admin »

Offline leightTopic starter

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Re: New to Robotics
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2006, 01:54:32 AM »
What! Sony discontinued QRIO! Doh, that sux. He looks awesome :)

Thanks for that information! I found a site where I could buy that robot in Australia - A$440! Far too expensive for what I'm after. So I bought one that I would have to put together and solder and stuff like that. It's called 'Spider' http://www.robotics.com.au/getpage.asp?PAGE=shop&cid=34&pid=316. I'll be checking out the links that you gave me. I can't wait for this Spider to come :) I wanna build a Robot :)

Okay, I think I'll just stick to possibly a spider replica for my first build robot, but with battery lights and other EyeCandy :)

Sorry about the late reply, I was flat out at work today! Actually, I'm a Draftie using AutoCAD 2006, so the 3D software won't be a problem :)

Thanks for everything :)

- leighton

 


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