Advice needed - Robot for testing Control Engineering concepts

Hello,
I am en electrical engineer that is trying yo update myself in the field of Digital Control Engineering: FIR IIR Filters & PID regulators. I would like
to build a system where I can measure Impulse Responses and use the collected data to build e.g. PID regulators where I test for stability etc.
What the robot does is not that important, but if it's something "cool " that doesn't hurt. I would also appreciate if somein can suggest Literature.
I am using MatLab and Mathematica.
I have currently started at reading a book called "DSP First" to refresh some of my past knowledge, and I am thinking about ordering the following books:
1) Control Systems Engineering by Norman S. Nise (Amazon.com product link shortened)
1b) MATLAB 6.1 Supplement to accompany Control Systems Engineering by Norman S. Nise (Author)
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
2) Modern Control Engineering (4th Edition) by Katsuhiko Ogata
(Amazon.com product link shortened)68555918/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-9179445-7902539?v=glance&s=books
Geir Ove Norway
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Geir Ove,
Don't know if I realy followed exactly what you were after but if I understood it correctly you are looking for a robot with ultrasonics or Ir on board? Then use the data from the sensors to control position and / or speed of the robot? Is that correct? If that is the case then there will be on the market next year a simple robot platform that might fit your needs. Btw, why use Matlab? have you tried SciLab? Just interested as we are thinking of using SciLab for some of work.
Andrew
Geir Ove wrote:

(Amazon.com product link shortened)
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
(Amazon.com product link shortened)68555918/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-9179445-7902539?v=glance&s=books
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