Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Just Ordered: Arduino Starter Kit from SparkFun

I have been reading through the book Programming Interactivity and am finally ready to get started with some projects. I will be starting with an Arduino Starter Kit from

This should be a good solid entry into computer based robotics. Once I have tackled some of the basics with Arduino, I look forward to branching out and covering some other topics.

One of my initial goals is to connect to the internet from my projects so that I can log data to a SQL database and control the devices from a web application. Although I won’t be able to do that yet with the starter kit, there are some add ons that should allow me to extend the starter kit as needed.

Now to wait for the kit to get here.

More Tutorials and Rule Based Programming

I found another source for tutorials this week. Steve Norris offers tutorials of his projects on his website at (look down the right side for navigation)

His tutorials look to be a little more advanced, but are cool to investigate even if you don’t plan on doing them. I discovered Steve’s work through an article from Popular Mechanics, 5 Homemade Robots That Offer Hope for DIY Geeks (With Video)

What interests me the most about his work is how he programmed rules into one of his robots.  His rules aren’t as complex as Asimov’s but create interesting results.  One such result Steve achieved was a graceful three point turn which was established by programming the robot to follow 3 rules:

  1. Always look at what it’s tracking
  2. Always move toward what it’s tracking
  3. If it gets too close to what it’s moving toward, back away.

As you can see none of those rules has anything to do with 3 point turns yet they have sophisticated consequences.

I have witnesses rule based programming create significantly more sophisticated results then intended in other application as well and am interested in investigating this further.  There are a few components that are necessary for rule based programming.  First of you have to have sensory input.  Second, you must have a programed response to that incoming data.

Another example of this is is the following tutorial on how to Build a (simple) balancing robot.  The robot achieves balance by applying a rule, which is to maintain the distance between the ground and a sensor mounted on the bottom of the robot. If the distance is too close the robot makes a corrective movement.  If the distance is too far, once again a corrective motion is made and the robot holds itself up.

If anyone knows other examples of rule based programming and related tutorials, please comment them to this post.

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.

Today I scored some free RFID tags

Last week I emailed an RFID tag vendor hoping that I could score some sample packs of their tags to work with.  My goal is to develop a few test projects so that I have working knowledge with the technology that I can later incorporate into larger projects or business models.

The company is sending me several sample packs with several different kinds of tags.  I will post more on this when I get them.

I know need to find one or more readers and get information on how to integrate this with .NET

I am super siked!


Over the last several years my interest in business and web design led me to programming.  At first it was basic web design. Over time I would take on new projects to learn and now I develop medical applications used by radiologists as well as other web based applications.

To get there I outlined various building blocks and fundamental skills that where needed.  I then tackled them one by one and gradually put them together to accomplish larger tasks.

As some of you know, I have a fascination with robotics.  I grew up destroying (investigating) various electronics such as VCRs and cameras. Occasionally I would even fix one…  I also grew up trying to invent all sorts of things.

Two of my creations included an electronic travel fan and an LED signaling system for my dorm room. The signaling system worked but I don’t recall whether or not it was ever put to use.

Over the last several months I have been putting more and more thought into taking the next step with my programming and to finally make the leap into robotics.  I have decided that a great starting point will be to tackle each element of robotics in bite sized projects like I did when I learned to program.  This time around though I will be blogging about my research so that others may benefit.