Monday, 21 March 2011

On Arduino, Mindstorms and other Robotic stuff

Touch down!

In these months I gave some tech consults to a friend of mine whom is working on a university experiment. This experiment involve an autonomous probe sent 35 km in altitude with a baloon.
I was pretty surprised about how much funny is to work on real-time systems. Just for fun, I looked for some "robot hack", thinking how to realize a simple automatic rover. I'll talk about software details in another post: today I asked to myself what's best to use: homemade hardware with arduino board or a Lego Mindstorm kit. I think the answer is inside of you: are you able enough to drill and cut aluminum? Fix motors and actuators with bolts, taking measuring with minimum accuracy of one millimeter? If yes, Arduino is your choice.
If no, Mindstorms are better.

But wait: what about just prototyping your robot? Even if you're a master in smithing, it could be usefull to use Lego prefabricated components to realize a low-cost, reusable and easy-to-modify prototype. It will helps to test your software "on the road" without loosing your precious hardware if something going wrong. It's also useful to give a live demonstration of your robot. It could be more impressive to see something real (it's not important how ugly it looks) than looking something moving on a monitor.

Some links

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