geeksunleashed.net - New Website Planned with Robotics Forum



I have been doing some research on robotics clubs. And the thing that I have noticed is that at most of them, there meetings are for discussions about robotics and show and tells of there robots. And some of them hold competitions so that members can compete against each other. It seems these clubs should be more about working together, pulling resources together, so they can build better robots. Well I don't know I guess they have there purpose.
Joe McKibben
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OK Gordon they are good points to keep in mind.
With the exception of Myke Predko's book on PIC C robotics (as a former teacher I have always found his books lack enough explanation of lengthy or complex code), it seems that most amateur robotics books focus on BASIC programming (yuk!).
Maybe a section on PIC C robotics? With sub-groups according to compiler?
How about FPGA robotics?
PC robotics?
Hacking robotics: hacking toys, RC vehicles, Game Boy etc.
Oh, and if anyone has some good robotics sites they can recommend, please let me know.
*Full* robot projects: schematics, PCB artwork, source code, pics/movies, documentation.
The site will also have a section where anyone can post links.
Cheers
:-]
Dale
Gordon McComb wrote:

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Dale T Stewart wrote:

Won't argue with either sentiment. On the Basic front (BASIC, as a language, is no longer used; Basic is a *new* language that simply uses a similar name!) it's widespread to cast a wider net. It's easier for most beginners to learn as they can take baby-steps. A modern Basic interpreter/compiler and IDE forces the same quality programming habits as any good C compiler. You just have to turn those features on if they are off by default. I never write a VB.net app without turning Strict mode on. In this mode there is no implicit narrowing casts, no late binding, etc.
I also code in C#. I've dropped most C/C++ for anything except very specific projects (like Microsoft DirectShow), and then I hate every minute of it.

Excellent.
Dunno. FPGA has't caught my attention much yet.

As a generic concept I find it boring. I'm more interested in using the power of Linux or Windows to do things a small robot can't do, like fairly complex vision and AI. Few cover these topics to any degree as they are complicated.

MAKE Magazine and its forums have the jump on you. You can't do it better than what they do.

BudgetRobotics.com! <hahaha>
-- Gordon
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Agreed. And note that in REALbasic (the only cross-platform Basic environment, AFAIK), there is no "unstrict" mode -- it's always strict. The language semantics are almost identical to Java; but it has a Basic-like syntax instead of a C-like syntax.
Of course, PBASIC is not modern Basic; it's more like BASIC of olde.

Heh. I can sympathize. They're pretty crude compared to modern languages.

I'll second that. Gordon's site is on my short list of places to find good robotics stuff at a good price.
Cheers, - Joe
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Thanks for the ideas
> >>>With the exception of Myke Predko's book on PIC C robotics (as a former >>>teacher I have always found his books lack enough explanation of lengthy >>>or complex code), it seems that most amateur robotics books focus on >>>BASIC programming (yuk!). >

I have used VB 5 in the past as a GUI front-end. And yes, from an amateur's POV, now it is basically an OOP language.
However, with the exception of some of the interpreters/compilers like the BASIC Atom? with VB-like syntax and structured language for functions/procedures, the BASIC of PBASIC, PIC BASIC PRO, Proton+ PIC BASIC, has poor programming techniques like gotos etc produce 'spaghetti' code. If you are a hobbyist, BASIC is fine. If you are teaching young students who want to be engineers or scientists I would teach C.
However, Parallax, and to a lesser degree PICAXE BASIC products have the best resources like many free and extensive electronic texts in pdf format. The value is evident when looking at a free interpreter, programming with simple serail cable, and abundant support. And a huge user base also is there with abundant code examples.
As far as BASIC being easier, than C, I guess that is true to some degree. Being a former teacher, I think that C can be learned fairly easily if it is taught from basics, without the more advanced topics of pointers, structs, etc.
Really, it depends on the skill of the teacher/author, and also the aptitude of the student.
There is a lack of books on PIC C robotics, and maybe I will take up that opportunity in the future, after finishing my Advanced Diploma (associate engineer) course.
Although Myke Predko's book is excellent from the technical point of view, I think a beginner's/entry-level book for PIC C robotics is needed. Myke also authored the Evil Genius book which has some good basics on C, but relies heavily on Assembler code for many of the examples - not a productive way to program. And missed an opportunity.
BASIC compilers that are often featured in PIC robotics texts like PIC BASIC Pro, Proton+ are very expensive, around USD $250. Excellent C compilers are available in free demo versions like Microchip C18, Hi-Tech C (go Aussies), and Mikroelektronika C. And the outstanding CCS C compilers weigh in at around half the price of PIC BASIC Pro etc.
Also, AVR robotics are another great opportunity for books to cover the amateur AVR robotics scene, with the open-source GNU C tool chain and WinAVR IDE.

I have a different take on this.
C and C++ are far from crude. Most micros in the engineering and university fields use C - it is the industry standard. If you go for a embedded systems job interview as an engineer or computer scientist and say you program in BASIC they will laugh at you.
C is the most efficient and powerful language for programming most micros. It is also used in real-time operating systems, and avionics and medical systems at the embedded level. These are mission-critical systems, you are dealing with people's lives.
Last night I read the June 2007 Australian PC User mag with an article "Computing the Universe" on Stanford University's the world's most data-intensive scientific experiment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre (SLAC) exploring particle physics.
Linux OS code is C and C++ - far from crude.
The director is Richard Mount. The system uses 4 thousand processors, and runs a 900 TB database.
The language of choice is *C++*.
The modern languages referred to are primarily for PC GUIs. Just because it is modern does't necessarily something has intrinsic value - compare (C)rap music to J.S. Bach or Mozart.
Cheers
:-]
Dale
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How about a "Device Tear Down" themed site where yourself and others send in articles/photos of "autopsied" robots, etc.
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Great idea!
That could be included in the hardware Hacking section
:-]
Dale
Pogo wrote:

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