Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

Tutorials and Kits

A natural development into my research concerning robotics is that I am finding several aspects of the industry that are lacking.  This is purely due to the industry being relatively young in terms of availability and access.

One trend that I really appreciate that really helps remove those barriers to entry are all of the individuals and companies who publish and blog about their work and offer tutorials.

Way back when I first started to program, I was forced to teach myself how to do everything.  I quickly discovered that tutorials where going to be my best bet for learning as the tutorials had a tendency to offer complete code.  That is, they where functional and did what they claimed most of the time.  Now that I professionally develop medical applications, I still find myself going back time and time again to the same type of resources.

A close friend of mine and I were having a conversation earlier. We were talking about the various projects we were taking on and the decision was made to try our hand at putting together a few tutorials. Of course projects in robotics differ from code as all the the parts aren’t necessarily available.   Finding the right combination of motors and controllers isn’t always straight forward.  To make our tutorials more effective for those interested in learning from them, we intend to package all of the parts together and offer kits to go along with the tutorials.

I have some fun projects in mind, so this experiment should be interesting. In the mean time, remember to take a look at the resources section as I am starting to gather a nice collection of vendors and tutorials from around the web.

Deciding Where to Get Started

One of the nice aspects about using the Microsoft .NET framework is that I have tons of tested tools to choose from when I put together web applications (that is what I do for a living). That being said, I am constantly trying to figure out what systems are in place within the world of robotics.

So far I have run accross several different platforms, Lego MindStorms, iRobot, Microsoft, as well as a handfull of smaller platforms.  I have also noticed that there are even more types of firmware which leaves me a little overwhelmed when choosing where to get started.

I will probably purchase my first robotics kit sometime in the next month.  I am hoping to find a few more online stores to choose from and will probably email the guys over at Trossen Robotics for their opinions as to where and how to get started.

In the mean time, if anyone has suggestions or is curious about where to find parts and supplies, I am growing my list on my Robotics Resources page.

Endurance Robotics

…this is very cool.  I found the site through the Trossen Robotics Blog post on a natural robotic arm controller and am thuroughly impressed!

Endurance Robotics looks to be a great source of parts and kits and also has a software and PC Interface components.  Needless to say I will be investigating them further.

Tutorials :: Getting Started in PC Based Robotics

I happened on some tutorials today and decided that they were important enough to warrant their own page!

I have officially started the Tutorials page.  I will be putting useful tutorials here and intend to work through as much of what I post as I can. I intend to mark the tutorials that I have had a chance to work through and to add any additional notes.  I may even create some of my own once I get the parts and some experience with them.

The following two tutorials use C# to control and interact with sockets and servos. The tutorials are written by Adrenalynn from the TRC and show some basics. I discovered these tutorials from the Trossen Robotics Blog on Getting Started in PC Based Robotics; a topic I am very interested in.