Hobby Robotics — It’s Really About Sensors and Programming
Hobbyists new to robotics don’t always understand the need for sensors, and why programming skills are essential for obtaining and utilizing sensor data.
A Neural Network Controlled Robot Without Backpropagation
Explore ways of letting a robot learn by applying techniques used by animals.
Teaching a Robot to Play Catch With Minimal Mathematics
Discover an alternate method for teaching a robot to predict the flight path of a ball.
Windows 8 Tablets: The Ultimate Robot Controller — Part 4
In this final installment, bestow some personality to your tablet-controlled robot by giving it a voice.
Windows 8 Tablets: The Ultimate Robot Controller — Part 3
This time, explore programming a robot to navigate to a general destination using GPS and compass readings, and then once there, use images from the tablet’s camera to find an object of a specific color.
Windows 8 Tablets: The Ultimate Robot Controller — Part 2
Learn how to integrate the tablet’s sensors by first using it as a steering wheel, then taking advantage of the tablet’s compass to maintain a robot’s heading.
Windows 8 Tablets: The Ultimate Robot Controller — Part 1
Most hobby robots are powered by small microcontrollers with limited capabilities. Could using a tablet instead with all its available features be the best way to rock your robot’s world?
A Robot Operating System On a Chip
Building a robot from scratch can be a daunting task for both beginning and advanced hobbyists. The newly available RobotBASIC ROS on a Chip makes the whole process easier and faster by providing a physical interface from simulations to the real deal.
Programming the LEGO NXT: An Alternative Approach Suitable For Developing Tomorrow’s Engineers
LEGO makes building robots easier, and now programming a LEGO NXT can be just as easy. Learn about the open-source LegoLibrary.bas.
Propelled by the Propeller Chip
This article is an excellent demonstration for how the parallel processing abilities of the Propeller chip from Parallax can be utilized in conjunction with RobotBASIC to achieve robotics projects that involve diverse and multifaceted elements that require simultaneous use of numerous microcontrollers along with a PC.
A More Versatile Robotic Controller Using RobotBASIC
Today’s hobbyists can purchase robotic platforms with a wide variety of electronic sensors, mechanical actuators, and programmable microcontrollers. This means that constructing a powerful robot is within the capacity of almost everyone, even those with a minimal background in electronics. This availability of hardware is progressively forcing robot enthusiasts to change their focus from building robots to programming robots. As this emphasis on software grows, the number of people interested...
A Robotic Puppet
My interest in robotics has always been very diversified and I too have always been fascinated with the idea of creating the illusion of life. Perhaps that was a motivating factor that pushed me towards another of my hobbies — ventriloquism. It occurred to me that the techniques used in puppet construction might be of interest to many hobbyists interested in animatronics. A typical ventriloquist puppet is carved from wood or molded from some form of composite material such as plastic wood...
Prototyping Autonomous Robots
Building an autonomous robot is a goal of many robot enthusiasts. If you look up autonomous in the dictionary, you will see terms like “self directed” and “self sufficient.” If you apply the first term to a robot, it simply means that the robot is capable of accomplishing a task without human intervention. The second term suggests a deeper commitment. A self sufficient robot might be one that is capable of repairing itself, or at the very least, capable of recharging its own battery so that...
A Practical Quadrature Encoder
Building projects involving electronics and robotics is much easier today than in the past because many of the commonly needed subsystems are available as ready-to-use modules (we will call them HMs [helper modules]). For example, there are HMs for controlling nearly any type of motor (DC, stepper, servo) and HMs to collect environmental data (humidity, temperature, distance to objects). You can find switching power supplies, battery chargers, Bluetooth modems, and dozens more just by looking...
Robot Vision for Everyone
If you have ever tried to add vision to one of your robotic projects, you probably appreciate why you seldom see articles exploring the subject at the hobbyist level. The ability to experiment with vision — especially in the past — has generally only been accessible to university researchers or the rare hobbyists with advanced tools and capabilities...
Robotic Arm Fundamentals
Programming a robotic arm is very different from programming a mobile robot. This article will examine some fundamental requirements and principles associated with this unique task. Furthermore, it will provide a 3D robot arm simulation that can be programmed just like a real world arm so that you can experiment with the concepts discussed here without the time and expense of a physical arm...