Best "Brain" module?

I will agree with Dennis on this one.
I have found robotics to be an evolutionary process, and where you end is often vary far from where you start. Short of going to a multi $1000 dollar
PC/104 based PC, you are going to have to go modular/distributed, and kind of string things out.
It also depends on whether you are a hardware/software/both sort of person, and base your goals from there. If you don't mind messing with hardware, and you have the resources, build it yourself. I hate doing hardware, and like to let someone else layout the 8 layer boards. This frees me to do other things like software, which I hate doing too. For me, it's in the system, and the mechanism. This is why I like the IsoPod, because the sheer number of hardware controlled functions. This frees you up to do other things, but any microcontroller has some degree of functionality, and it is a matter of choosing a path that leads you down a particular path.
For me, The IsoPod is a natural. 1) I have programmind in FORTH for 20+ years. 2) The software is easier, because of all the register based functionality. 3) I design simple 2-4 layer boards that the IsoPod that contain the specific functionality that I need to add. 4) There are several members of the family, with different size footprints and capabilities.
My second choice is the BASICX24 since it is reasonably fast, and simple enough to quickly play around with.
PC/104 was neat, because there was always, or most always a board(s) that did what I needed.
Find a chip family, or system on a board that liiks like a good match. Play with LEDs, and A/D converters, then D/A converters, PWM, Motor controls.
As far as the PC side of things, I am not terribly excited about the ITX things, but I usually go small and lightweight, and a micro-computer is more than I want to deal with.
Mike
www.techtoystoday.com *

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I'm currently working on a java API for the robotica servo control board, and an ITX board from www.linitx.com. Ill agree, it's small as a motherboard, but huge when you consider a self contained robot. However, at 75 quid or so, if you are creating something static on the end of a mains lead, you can't beat it.
I think at the end of the day it depends if you are working with simple proximity detectors and on/off states, or if you want to do something requiring heavy image analysis that sits on something the size of a tea trolley :-)
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On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 04:31:11 -0800, Dave Newman wrote:

yep, itx boards look very good and they reckon only 10w for the eden, 12v supply, so should be able to detether from the mains at least for shortish periods of time... unless you have a tea trolley chassis for your batteries, in which case could probably even make an (semi) autonomous itx/controller combi...
be interesting to play with autodocking into the recharge unit....
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On Sun, Dec 07, 2003 at 03:52:43PM +0000, Englander wrote:

I use FreeBSD Unix for development - Linux works great too. Also, AVR-GCC works on Windows. I understand that MacOS X support is present as well. Building AVR-GCC on Unix is near trivial - just unpack, run the configure script specifying the target, and build.
If using FreeBSD, it is a 'port', so it is literally as simple as the following, assuming you have an internet connection:
# install the GNU GCC C compiler target for the AVR % cd /usr/ports/devel/avr-gcc && make install
# install the AVRDUDE AVR programmer - for download flash to the AVR % cd /usr/ports/devel/avrdude && make install # install
That's it. At that point, you have everything you need for a robust development environment. Other tools are available, of course, like a simulator, debugger, etc. You do need a programmer which can be as simple as a cable connecting the parallel port of your PC to the ISP programming header. That's what AVRDUDE is used for - to download the code compiled with AVR-GCC to the target platform. It can talk to most parallel port programmers like this simple one, among others:
http://www.bsdhome.com/avrdude /

Yep - I ship worldwide. Shipping outside of the US and Canada is $12, flat rate.
Cheers, -Brian -- Brian Dean, snipped-for-privacy@bdmicro.com BDMICRO - Maker of the MAVRIC ATmega128 Dev Board http://www.bdmicro.com/
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Hello Englander. The oopic is an easy way to get into programming robots, but it does have a memory limitation. For really large amounts of RAM, you'll probably have to go to a PC equivalent board. For RAM in the 256-512Kbyte range, there is also the Rabbit controller, besides what others have mentioned.
If you wanted to start with the oopic, for easy introduction, and then move to a PIC with larger memory to do your own programming, you might look at boards in which you can interchange the chips - such as my OOBOT40 board. However, you will not get large RAM with these boards:
http://www.oricomtech.com/oobot40.htm
- dan michaels =======================
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There are boards to interface with a compact flash or sd/mmc card through rs232. These little cards give extra external memory which could be used for long term storage. For example a detailed map of the house.
This memory however is available to the PIC as real ram memory and i believe it cannot be used for storing a program either.
But if you're looking for memory for storing events (dataloggers) this might be interesting.
Peter
snipped-for-privacy@oricomtech.com (dan michaels) wrote in message

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We're developing and soon (early next year) will releasing a robotic-targeted version of our SIMM-Sys CPU card (http://www.rcs.hu/simm-sys/cpu_cards/atmel.htm ). The differences from what currently is on our website are: - 256kB RAM - 66MHz operation - Slightly different pinout with a standard .100 dual-line header (like the ones on HDDs)
Since it's an ARM based device, it can be programmed in C/C++ with GCC and other development tools, and we have plans to add support for other GCC-supported languages, like Pascal, ADA and Java.
Regards, Andras Tantos
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