Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Building a Low Cost COTS PC-Based Robot

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

We’ve definitely seen our share of some pretty wicked DIY robots in the past, but this one really stands out!


Sure, it doesn’t have too much functionality to it as of yet (that’s to come, I’m sure), but this is one of the most resourceful displays of DIY PC based robotics I have seen in a while! Check out dotnetrobot for all the sweet details about this robot.Kudo’s Chris!

Robot helps teach Windows CE fundamentals

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

Windows for Devices reports on a training robot named WINCETON

Bsquare recently added an unusual guest instructor to its five-day Windows CE 6.0 training classes. A robot named “WINCETON” gives students an opportunity to solve a hands-on, real-world problem using Windows CE 6.0, according to the company.

WINCETON debuted during a Windows CE 6.0 training class in Boston earlier this month. As a final project, students were able to build a Windows CE 6.0 image that programmed WINCETON’s servo-driven sensor head. The objective was to pan the head through 180 degrees, and determine the location of the nearest object within its field of view, which has a range of about 80 cm.

WINCETON is controlled by means of a USB Phidget servo controller, according to Bsquare. Phidgets are small, USB-interfaced modules that can be used in conjunction with a PC to implement low-cost sensing and control projects. A shared source Windows CE Phidgets driver is available from Microsoft’s CodePlex code-sharing site (“Windows Embedded MVP” Jim Wilson recently published an extensive tutorial focused on Phidgets).

Phidget LCD with 8/8/8
Phidget 4 Servo Controller
(looks like) Lynxmotion Pan & Tilt Unit


Managed .NET Library for Nintendo’s Wiimote

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Ever wonder how you would go about hacking into Nintendo’s Wiimote, and start using it in any of your .NET applications? Thanks to Brian Peek, we can now have an easy-to-use managed API for the wiimote for use in all of our .NET applications! Tie this together with some servo controllers and possibly a couple of DC motor controllers, or just use the all-in-one wireless Serializer Robot Controller board and you have some pretty wicked possibilities! I can’t wait to see what kind of insane motion sequences roboticists make with this:)

Brian Peek Wiimote

via (Coding4Fun)
He provides the full source along with a sample application on how to use the API.

Well, what does the API actually support? The classic controller, the state of the IR and acceleration, button state, battery, rumble, is the nunchuk attatched and what it is doing. The only thing that appears not to be currently supported is the speaker.

Check out Brian’s blog for updates to the library.

HowTo: Measure a Vehicle’s Performance with a USB Accelerometer

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Ever wonder how to measure a vehicle’s performance using an accelerometer in a high level programming language? Well, Mike Harkabus has just put together a nice tutorial (with source) on Microsoft’s Coding4Fun Blog that explains how to do so. Called iAccelerate, “using basic physics equations, we can derive a vehicle’s current speed, distance traveled, horsepower, and other performance metrics from the acceleration of the vehicle”, all of which is written in Visual C# Express.

iAccelerate Form 1

iAccelerate Form 2

Since the Express languages are free, you can put this entire project together all for the price of the accelerometer (given that you have a vehicle to test and a laptop of course). The accelerometer used in this this tutorial is the Phidget 2-axis accelerometer, which happens to be under $70.

How To: Build a Radio Controlled Lawnmower for under $500

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

When you were a kid (or even now), didn’t you wish you could make mowing the grass fun by controlling it just like you do your RC cars/trucks? I know I did! Well, thanks to Terry Creer, we have an in-depth tutorial explaining how to build our very own radio controlled lawnmower, all for under $500. According to Terry, all this requires is, “A little electronic knowledge, soldering ability and mechanical know-how”

radio controlled lawnmower

Wheelchair – $150

Lawnmower – $200

Radio gear – $100

Electronic parts for joystick interface – $30

Total – $480

The satisfaction that you get from sitting on your porch and navigating this lawnmower around – Priceless!

Sure, now that I’m older, live in the burbs and have no lawn to mow, I find this tutorial!!

Since there are some people out there that just love to sue companies because of their own negligence: The tutorial link contained in this post is not from Trossen Robotics. Trossen Robotics does not assume any liability from damages as a result of constructing and/or operation of this radio controlled lawnmower.
via Hack-A-Day

How To: Interface a Phidget 8/8/8 Interface Kit with a LV-Maxsonar-EZ1

Friday, February 9th, 2007

Ever wonder how you would interact with a sonar sensor in high level programming languages? Well, we just put up a tutorial which shows you how to connect a MaxSonar EZ1 sensor to the analog port on a Phidget 8/8/8 Interface Kit. Not familiar with Phidgets? Phidgets are PC based development boards that allow you to interact with the outside world via any high level programming languages. Until now we were restricted to using various IR sensors to detect distance. Imagine the possibilities! We can’t wait to hear what sort of projects people come up with in the community. We’ve already started using these with our soon to be released modular decks.

Range Sensor Front
EZ1 888 connected
Now that your thinking outside the box… What will you build?Full tutorial can be found here. Check out the thread on this topic

USB Airsoft Turret 1.0

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
USB Airsoft Turret 1.0

You have heard us blog about the USB missile launchers before excited about the prospect of making them into autonomous robot projects. Now our giddyness has spiked to new levels with the appearance the InventGeek‘s USB Airsoft Turret project.

Our issue before was the accuracy and range of the soft foam missiles on these USB toys. Jared and his brilliance solved this problem by removing the weak foam missile launcher and replacing it with an Airsoft pellet gun. NOW this is a project worth building.

Full tutorial here. A big thanks to Jared for posting his project on the web.

Story via Coding4Fun 

Check out Jared’s 4 turret version here

ChRoMicro – Cheap Robotic Microhelicopter HOWTO Guide

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

RC model helicopter prices have reached a point where all sorts of challenging (i.e. crash-prone) robotics projects become affordable. This document explains how to build a 300 g helicopter with embedded Linux and Bluetooth datalink from off-the shelf components for less than 500 EUR.



How To: Build a Computer-Controlled R/C Car with Camera – Coding4Fun

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Control a remote controlled car with your computer using Microsoft Robotics Studio. Then, add a wireless IP camera for stealthy remote operation. How to article by Brian Peek of ASPSOFT, Inc.

Difficulty: Advanced
Time Required: 3-6 hours
Cost: $50-$100
Software: Visual Basic or Visual C# Express Editions, Microsoft Robotics Studio, Phidgets .NET and MSRS libraries
Hardware: A remote-controlled car, PhidgetInterfaceKit 0/0/4 OR PhidgetInterfaceKit 0/16/16, Airlink101 AIC-250W wireless camera (optional), Xbox 360 Controller for Windows (optional), batteries, wire, and solder
Download: Download
In 2005, we at ASPSOFT built the world’s first .NET-powered battlebot known as The Finalizer. Since then, many robotics enthusiasts and hobbyists have become intrigued with the idea of a .NET-controlled robot, but don’t have the cash or hardware required to build something as elaborate as The Finalizer. With that in mind, I set out to create a very simple and very cheap computer controlled vehicle that anyone with a couple bucks and a computer could build.


HOWTO make a vibrobot

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Over at StreetTech, Gareth Branwyn posted directions to build fun vibrobots, small solar-powered robots that shimmy and shake their way through the world thanks to a vibrating motor cannibalized from an old pager. The plans come from Zach Debord, a master of miniature robots who Gareth profiled in the current issue (Vol. 8) of MAKE. (Link to PDF of the article.)

From Gareth’s guide:  Storypics Vibrobot Partcallout The key to Vibrobot movement is a motor (or motors) that employs an unbalanced weight. Pager and other motors used to create vibration alerts in consumer electronics use this technique. As the motor shaft spins, the weight on the shaft, being off-kilter, makes the motor, and therefore the entire pager, vibrate. Hook such a motor up to a little robo-critter with four fixed legs, and when the motor fires and the weight starts spinning, the bot will skitter across the floor. That’s all there is to it. Since the legs don’t need to be articulated or driven, there are few mechanical challenges in building a Vibrobot. The power circuit is very simple too. The simplicity of the mechanics and electronics frees you up to put more effort into making the bots look incredibly cool.

via BoingBoing