Hello to the UK’s Robot Brighton

Thanks for the mention from the UK’s @robotbrighton robotics group. Recently I read @fluffyemily‘s RoboChick Rampant Robotic Rumpus blog post about the book “Making Things Talk“. This is a great book and it influenced my decision to explore the combination of Processing and Arduino through this web site.  The urge to purchase books is great and it’s easy to spend a small fortune on computer books. Another book worth adding to your bookshelf  is “Programming Interactivity“, I’m still forming my opinion on this book but in general I think it is useful.

I checked to see what was showing up on my site’s home page at the time of RobotBrighton’s mention and realized that a little explanation would be helpful. Most of the articles may be considered a Stream of Consciousness and when reading top-down consecutively the articles appear out of proper order and somewhat disconnected. I’m basing this site’s articles on a series of workshops I’m developing titled “Topics in Robotics, Electronics, and Communications”.

I started DIY Robotics Lab as a way to encourage people interested in this technology to begin exploring what they can do at home. So many of the robot kits used by high school students are too expensive for home use.

Presently much of this site is about programming using Arduino and Processing. I believe there are enough similarities when learning to program in one it will help you learn the other. Processing can provide an enjoyable way of interacting with our robotic creations. One series of articles begins with this Processing – Arduino Comparison article.

Another series is an example of low cost robotics projects spanning multiple web sites. Here is an article about our Robotic Labyrinth using a Wii Fit balance board. I saw this as a great way to get kids interested in robotics. An article on this site illustrates using Processing to interact with a simulated joystick. Since publishing that article I’ve added xBox 360 controller support through Processing to control the labyrinth. Another member of our labyrinth project has posted an article showing our labyrinth in action at the Missouri state fair. He also publish this article “Using a PC Joystick with the Arduino“. Since older game port joysticks can be bought at thrift stores for around $3 its another cheap way to encourage home based robotics labs. You can find more information about our labyrinth project at my personal blog SomeoneKnows.

Another series of articles on this site starts with Learning the C Language with Arduino. It explores using C while building circuits to blink LEDs.

I hope you enjoy the site and find the information useful. I would like to learn about your thoughts and comments. Thanks for stopping by.

(c) 2009 – Vince Thompson

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3 Responses to “Hello to the UK’s Robot Brighton”

  1. andrew Says:

    would it be possible, (or how could I get stated with) creating a computer program that could send joystick output through usb into a game system ?

    The idea is to create an AI that could play a video game.

  2. andrew Says:

    Just to clarify, I could write a C program with the logic of press left for 5 seconds, then Up. My question is how can I simulate the correct voltages or data streams (I assume) outwardly over the usb.

  3. someoneknows Says:

    My first question, is the game system an external game device like xBox?
    Or is this a video game running on the computer?

    My first thought about learning to send signals from a game control device like a joystick is to check out Processing’s library proCONTROLL. You can read the controller’s data easily with this. This is built upon Java but Processing looks a lot like C.

    I’ve been using processing to simulate a joystick but I’m sending it to a Processing display and simultaneously to an Arduino controlling my labyrinth game. I know that is different than what you’re asking but it is a starting place to learn how control response can be interpreted from a game controller.

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