Archive for the ‘Robotics’ Category

Hello to the UK’s Robot Brighton

September 24, 2009

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

Instructable: DIY Servo Extensions.

December 15, 2008

Servos are great when building a robot and you want to be able to rotate back and forth like you’re looking for something. You may have sensors that scout around for another robot and putting it on top of a servo provides that mobility. Servos are also very useful when building a robotic arm and many other things.

One problem you’ll run into is wires that aren’t  long enough to reach from your controller to the servos. That is when you need servo extensions.

Arduino servo extensions

Arduino servo extensions

This Instructable page for DIY Servo Extensions will lead you through the process of making your own servo extensions.

(c) 2009 – Vince Thompson

Getting DIY Robotics Labs Started.

December 4, 2008

I’ve been a member of robotics clubs for several years and an active mentor with FIRST robotics teams in the Kansas City area. I’ve noticed while helping FIRST students that there is the lack of robotics at the personal level.  The FIRST robot kit of parts are too expensive for mom and dad to buy the same parts to play with at home. Also, many homeschool students don’t have access to the same level of robotics parts and resources for their studies.

Getting started with robotics doesn’t have to be overly expensive. This blog is dedicated to getting people started experimenting with robotics at home.

(c) 2009 – Vince Thompson