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Author Topic: I want to focus more on the software part than the mechanical or engineering par  (Read 2720 times)

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Offline krejTopic starter

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I really want to build a robot and be able to program it. I think it'd be awesome if I could get it to navigate around my room on its own, and do a bunch of other cool stuff with it. One thing that I thought would be really cool would be attach a camera to the robot so it could see where it is, and whats around it.

I realize this is getting ahead of myself, and first I should just make a simple robot that can move, but I'm majoring in Computer Science and think I'd have more fun programming the robot rather than actually building and designing it.

So my question is, is there anyway I can still build a robot without having to build or design it, so I can focus more on the programming of it? I found Lego Mindstorms, but that seemed really expensive. I couldn't find anywhere to buy it on their site, so I went to ebay and it was like $350 for a kit. I don't mind spending some money, but I would prefer not to go over $150.

So can someone help me figure out a way to make robots without having to do as much building? I know this is a weird question, since most of making robots probably revolves around building it, but I really would like to be able to focus on the programming aspect more.

Offline offy

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I had the same problem. I enjoy programming much more then building. What I first did, was built a version of the $50 robot (but with better parts, like the roboduino instead of the build your own board) then I just put some stuff together on a P.O.S. plastic chassis I bought for like $10. So, you could just get a peice of wood, buy servos and mounts. Mound the servo to the wood, and then program. Make a simple 3 wheeled robot. 2 drive, 1 free wheel (swivel wheel)

have fun programming.

Offline Razor Concepts

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The Pololu 3pi is an incredibly designed robot for under $100, the good thing about it is that it is built precisely... so it is only limited by what you can program, unlike homebuilt robots which have mechanical factors that mess things up.


Offline offy

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If you want to get into large programming projects, and harder code for a challenge, you most likely going to have to build a robot that has the sensors you want, or you have to get together with a person into the hardware side, and work with them.

Offline Soeren

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Hi,

I'm majoring in Computer Science and think I'd have more fun programming the robot rather than actually building and designing it.
The concept that really makes applied robotics such a great pass time is that it takes three distinct engineering disciplines: Mechanics, Electronics and Software.
If you only want a slice of the pizza, either hook up with someone that only want the other parts, or consider if applied robotics really is your thing.

Personally, I find that it's the fusion of the three that that makes it exciting for me - or rather, to make the three go up in a higher unity.
You never hear a chef saying "I'm only in this for cooking potatoes" either ;D
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline dellagd

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You also never see a house builder say "oh sorry, I only build roofs"
But you could always consider getting a pre-made bot.
But if you want to go somewhere with robotics, Your gonna have to build a bot sooner or later
Innovation is a product of Failure, which leads to Success.

If I helped, +1 helpful pls

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3rd place! I'm taking $100

Offline Webbot

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I'm with you. Checkout my WebbotLib (see my signature) for robots.

All open source so it may give you some ideas and you are more than welcome to contribute.
Webbot Home: http://webbot.org.uk/
WebbotLib online docs: http://webbot.org.uk/WebbotLibDocs
If your in the neighbourhood: http://www.hovinghamspa.co.uk

Offline GearMotion

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My opinion may not be the popular one, but I'd say if you want to take the first steps and only do the programming for now, please do. Perhaps once you have had fun/experience with programming, then perhaps you will take small steps into other areas as you get comfortable.

Nobody is judging you (or shouldn't) for learning the parts that you want to learn.

Offline Asellith

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For me the conceptual design and electronics are the fun part. The mechanical/software is the sticking point for me. Mechanical construction is my down side. I just don't have skills and I expect more precision then I am able to obtain now. however I am enjoying this current build because it is challenging me and I am trying to spend the time to do it right. I have been cheating a little by using some tools at work like cutting some aluminum channel at with a chop saw took me 2 minutes instead of 2 hours with a hack saw.

I am always trying to better myself and learn new things thats why I got into robotics because it is the combination of so many elements. If you want to stick with prebuilt robots and work on software for them then more power to you. Build some great robots and add to open source elements like webbots lib. We are a community and each person can contribute to make us all better. Thats why I want to see projects like OSCAR and webbots library succeed.

The important point is to have fun its a hobby so treat it like one. If you wanted to go professional with it you would have the crazy tools that Admin and others have access to (ie CNC and plastic prototyping machines) and teams of people who are experts in the other aspects and if you get good enough at software then no need to ever really get into the mechanical or hardware side of things.
Jonathan Bowen
CorSec Engineering
www.corseceng.com

Offline Gertlex

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Well you could purchase a camera for a robot... and just start doing camera recogonition software.

Then purchase a simple robotic arm.  And program that.

And build a $50 robot with slightly more robust materials, and program that.

Then put the three together and program that.

The only mechanical electrical stuff you need to do is to build one robot platform, and then just improve that robot.  The coding will be far more time intensive in the long run.

Admin uses pretty much the same approach:
http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=1218.0
« Last Edit: November 16, 2009, 08:52:51 PM by Gertlex »
I

Offline AtomicWaste

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I've worked with the handyboard a couple times in the past. http://www.handyboard.com/
Easy to program and extremely powerful. Pretty much just plug and play. It has a built in motor driver and servo ports. Plenty of analog and digital inputs. Built in rechargeable battery.  Built in LCD screen. A built in input potentiometer and a few buttons. Built in inferred transmitter.Programming software is free and easy to work with and the firmware gives you easy access to all the features.

I also recommend getting the expansion board too, as this will give you even more abilities.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2009, 04:26:55 AM by AtomicWaste »
"Give a man a fire, he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll never be cold the rest of his life." - Unknown

Offline Hadamard

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A really easy robot to build which is very flexible and widely used is the Boe-Bot made by Parallax. It will run you $160 and can be found here.

The only downside is you have to program in PBasic which isn't too fun. Instead I use the Parallax Javelin Microprocessor because it runs Java. The Javelin costs $90 and can be found here.

The Boe-Bot comes with photo-resistors, infrared sensors and whiskers. Once you have mastered those sensors you may want to start using a ultrasonic rangefinder or a camera to do more complicated tasks. Both of which can also be found on parallax's website.

I know I probably sound like a person working for parallax but in reality I am just a frequent user of their products who has had a really good experience. Their processors and sensors seem to be supported very well and are easy to use.
Check out my robot projects at: http://robot-place.blogspot.com/

Offline yann

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Well, the best thing to do would be to buy an Arduino board, and the mechanichal stuff is very fun!
P.M. me for more details!

 


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