July 2005 - Posts
has a compilation of papers
related to the AUVS Aerial Robotics Competition
. Some good reading if you are into robotics or would like to know more about various methods of hardware control.
Looks like the guys of the WE-DIG user group
are creating a WinCE board support package for the gumstix platform, the project name is Drumstix
. The code will be licensed as freeware, with WinCE being free for non-commercial use.
FPGAs are fun!
has some good info on Field Programmable Gate Arrays
, their use in digital design, and most interesting to me - how to use a FPGA to control servos
has posted instructions
on how to program the robostix expansion board using the gumstix
as the In-System Programmer (instead of using the Atmel ISP
or similiar). Now If I can just get my hands on an actual robostix
, they've been sold out for a few weeks now. Very popular item.
I've been searching around and for the life of me I cannot find any information on what happened to .netcpu
, the guys that were gonna make the CPU with .net embedded
. A few people got dev kits but then ... <crickets>
Anyone got any idea what happened to this idea? Seemed like a good idea, having the the runtime embedded. I'd certainly wouldn't mind working with .net (even if it's a bastard version) on light-weight hardware.
According to an interview from Daniel Ichbiah's new book Robots: From Science-Fiction to Technological Revolution
, EA seems to be interested in robotics for entertainment. In the interview Luc Barthelet of Electronic Arts
has a few interesting things to say.
Below are a few snippets from the interview with Luc Barthelet:
What makes the world's number one video games publisher interested in robots?
EA's core competence is the development of complex programs for leisure-oriented applications and robots. Interactive toys incorporate a large software component, which makes it an interesting area for us. It's clear that a robot craze is on the way, and we're looking at how we can accompany or boost this new market.
Does EA intend to sell construction kits like Lego?
We're still doing the research and don't have any product on offer for the time being. Our competence is in programming and we'd prefer to stick to that. There is nothing in the pipeline
..If we manage to make gaming robots, we could adapt our software to them (Sims, Command &Conquer, etc.) Teenagers could have a character that led an attack with miniature tanks in their bedroom..
.. If the computer is integrated into a doll or action figure, the interface changes: the robot could talk, have a playful side..
EA seems to be keeping a close eye on robotics for entertainment and personal interaction. Looks like the robot craze is going up up up. We will see more and more companies seeing robots as more than just cost cutting machines for the assembly line and start seeing them as consumer products (ie profit generators).
I came across an article in the NY Times about a planned Destiny U.S.A
150 acre mega-mall that puts emphasis on breaking the need for fossil-fuel based energy sources. From the article
More mind-boggling than the sheer scope of Destiny is its agenda. Congel emphasizes that renewable energy alone will power the mall, with its 1,000 shops and restaurants, 80,000 hotel rooms, 40,000-seat arena and Broadway-style theaters. As a result, Congel says, Destiny will jump-start renewable-energy markets nationwide with its investments in solar, wind, fuel cells and other alternative-energy sources
They also have plans for a new type of purchasing system:A group of companies hopes to perfect a new wireless radio frequency identification technology to enable customers to purchase items instantly without waiting in line. The Department of Homeland Security and A.D.T., a home-security company, have discussed testing new devices that will track all visitors entering and leaving the mall
Man, what an indoor paradise! Not only can I consume products until my heart is filled with sheer joy (purchases = joy right?) but I can also be tracked in my every move while I make my way through the disney world of mass-consumption and to top it all off I won't have to worry myself about the environment!
GTA:San Andreas has apparently had it's M rating revoked
by the ESRB
because of a available modification that will unlock a sex mini-game. I guess it's ok to do wheely drive-bys with an Uzi, beat a hooker to death, or do strafing runs on the local army base with a harrier, but whatever you do don't show the kids any sex, they may be influenced the wrong way..?
I know it's just a rating for consumers, but it's ironic. I'm not for or against it either way. I've played the game and liked it, but I'm an adult and know the difference between fantasy and reality. I don't let my daughter play it. Honestly I'd rather her see sex then violence. Most games out these days are violent, the answer to every problem is to blow the problem away with a .357 and then check the pockets for cash. Is it good for society? Hell if I know. But it would be nice if we could get some new ideas besides the typical "use violence to solve problems" variety.
is working with the University of Minnesota
to create a UAV using a Sig Rascal
, a typical GPS system, and an AeroComm wireless modem
. The project is in progress but he did something I thought was interesting - he imported the telemetry data
into the open source flight sim FlightGear
via UDP and then plotted the course of the UAV. Then the data can be played back to recreate the flight using the flight sim. Pretty impressive
has plans to release a demo kit
for around $150 USD that displays the uses of intelligent control in mechanical devices. What's interesting is that the demo kit seems to come with a stepper motor, a brushed motor, LCD display, temp sensor, light sensor, switches, leds, 2 POTs, and source code examples (using the MPLAB IDE). But you would need your own PIC programmer. You can buy a programmer
or build your own
Example projects listed in the description: Nine example projects with complete source code:
• Switch debouncing and lighting an LED
• How to read an analog sensor (temperature and light)
• Brushed DC motor speed control
• Speed feedback: Back EMF and optical
• Stepper motor control: single-stepping, half-stepping and micro-stepping
• How to use the USART for RS-232 communication
• How to use the Capture, Compare and PWM module
• How to use comparators
Sounds like a great way to get into PIC programming for robotics. Not too expensive either, I may pick one up when they are released.
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