ISOPOD/ISOMAX Success story

September 15th, 2005 Success story:
I am so happy that I feel compelled to share my brief story of success. Please read this in the spirit of praise for all who innovate in
embedded technologies. These comments are my personal experience and opinion and should not be construed as an endorsement for other applications. No consideration has been offered or accepted for my comments. I reserve all rights on my comments.
One week ago to the day I purchased a New Micros' ISOPOD V2 w/ 0.82 ISOMAX. I had no prior experience with the hardware or software or company. My previous embedded experience was limited to the Savage Industries' OOPic (all versions) programmed in Visual Basic enhanced with OOPic Virtual Circuit objects. With a major project deadline looming, I had to abandon the OOPic product line as my project's needs surpassed the capabilities of a network of FIVE OOPic-Cs.
I went back to my notes during the PIC selection process and took another look at the ISOPOD/ISOMAX. The single DSP chip was clearly powerful enough and had sufficient peripherals for my needs, but I was deeply concerned about learning ISOMAX's Forth-based programming quickly enough to recover project schedule. Well to make a short story ever shorter, I have just bench-tested with success the primary block of logic needed for my project's closed-loop control system which includes ADC, PWM, and RS-232 on-chip peripherals. I am ecstatic about the performance! The scheduled progress of the control system is now far ahead of the point of abandonment with the OOPic. What is truely shocking to me is that with the ISOPOD/ISOMAX I successfully demonstrated the primary control block including RS-232 two-way 16b communication with a laptop computer in one week from a standing start while the OOPic system that was unfinished took MONTHS!
To be fair to the OOPic, many of the concepts of event-based multitasking virtual devices are directly applicable to the ISOMAX Finite State Machine VPM and so it was an easy conceptual transition. Actually, looking at my old design notes I can see Finite State Machine representations converted to OOPic Virtual Circuits so my paradigm was already headed in the correct direction - but the speed of implementation is fantastic!
I have much work to complete the control system, but it is designed to make repetitive use of the primary block of logic with some FSM master-slave relationships. If I come across any major obstacles, then I intend to post a follow up message. Issues that I will explore along the way include "gain" control without the use of LOOPINDEX-driven states and the possibilities for Fuzzy State Machines (FuSM) implemented via ISOMAX FSM.
Whether you call it Finite State Machines or Virtual Circuits or event-driven objects in a multitasking environment, they are all powerful concepts and I applaud the folks at New Micros for the cleanest (bug free) and most powerful implementation in my opinion.
Aeronautically, Fabio Grossi Grossi Aerospace Inc. Grapevine TX USA
keywords: ISOPOD ISOMAX FINITE STATE MACHINE MULTITASKING OOPIC EVENT-DRIVEN OBJECTS
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I am similarly blessed as well.
I have a lot of 'pod projects under my belt, from simple robots to a patent for a device that uses an IsoPod rather than a PC to do very sophisticated motion control like moves.
Having left the movie biz, to go work at a think tank, I was immediately accepted by the code jockies there, since they were also IsoPod users. These are a bunch of guys who solve problems, not espose languages. The right tool for the job is the motto, and very often, it involves an IsoPod, ServoPod, PlugaPod or TinyPod.
The neat thing about IsoMax/FORTH is that it is a language construction kit. You sit down, and interactively start redefining the language, starting with primitives, and building them up into useful words.
In my latest column in Nuts N Volts, I hinted at the new Motion Control add on that is in Beta testing. It allows you to set up a high priority scheduler to run the built in PID and trajectory generator words, in addition to the other built in scheduler, and the foreground task.
What this will allow you to do, is have all your PID running (about 125 uS per PID calc, with quadrature read and trajectroy generator calcs), in it's own task, have the normal task running, and have the foreground task available as well. In other words, put the motion stuff in the motion loop, the behavior stuff in the main schedule, and the forground for interactive programming or other asynchronous uses.
I will be announcing a virtual IsoPod contest in my next column, where I will challenge my readers to design a virtual killer app. The cooler, the better. The prize will be an IsoPod, ServoPod, or what ever processor you design on.
My 6-minipod CANBUS R/C centipede http://www.bio-bot.com/bio-botsite/movies / My 18 servo, inverse kinematics hexapod http://www.bio-bot.com/bio-botsite/lynxmotion /
Mike

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