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CProgrammer

roboics, special kit

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I'm looking for a special robotics kit. Basically I want to have some sort of system that I can plug into my laptop(USB, parallel port or anything standard). That system shoudl function somewhat like a micrcontroller, basically have pins... Then I want the system to come with an SDK so that I can write a C++ app that communicaes directly with the system in order to controll devices attached to the pins. My goal is to have a robot with the laptop as brain. Any ideas if theres such a starter kit out there? If so what and where can I order it to germany? Thanks in advance -CProgrammer

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Im not 100% sure but couldn't Lego Mindstorms quite easily fit into that description, sure they use some odd programming language but I would be very surprised if it hadn't been "hacked" by enthusiasts by now.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I can recommend a piece of hardware we use here at work, not sure what the cost of the compiler is (the chip is about $60).

Z World
http://www.zworld.com/

Then check out their rabbit processors, alot of them come with ethernet jack, many I/O ports, and hardware PWM.

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You could get a mini-itx board for around 100$. The downside to it is that it takes up 17x17cm of space but it is a computer in its own right making it rather easier to handle than most embeded solutions. I believe you can stick a small distro of Linux on a ROM card which would stop boot times. Applications are then easily compiled and tested on a main machine and upload it through a network connection. The processor is way faster than any reasonably priced embeded alternative. As it is a PC you can simply plug in a monitor so you can check up on it.

This kind of project is one I am considering doing in the future.

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Couple of projects with mini-itx:

http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/devilcat/
http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/robotica/

One problem is the power consumption.

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Hey guys thanks.
Lego mindstorm is not an option(doesnt have the power im looking for).
The other two options(mini-itx; zworld) seem very interesting. I'll look into them as soon as I can.
Oh and concerning the power supply. If worse comes to worse I could maybe use a car battery.
Thanks for the feedback

-CProgrammer

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I had a look at the sites. Very interesting.
However I have one problem with mini-itx.
The reason I wanted the laptop to complitely run as the brain is that I wanted full power. Enough to have 3d real time DirectX/Opengl apps that display data on the laptops screen.
Is it easily possible to attach a geforce 4 or the likes and run a linux ditro on the system?
If so than this solution would be perfect.
Another question: Do you know a website where I can order varios objects to attach, like powerful wheals, cam, distance measuring systems, LEDS etc.?

-CProgrammer

[Edited by - CProgrammer on July 7, 2004 9:31:24 AM]

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Well it only has one PCI slot. You could look into ways of attaching a laptop graphics card to it. It could well be possible. Software rendering should be fine for most of your purposes and alternativly you could transmit data to another machine and remotely render it there.

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germany you say? how about some stuff from conrad electronics(edit: bah link doesnt work, under Elektronik, Bausätze & Module, Lern- & Experimentierbaukästen, Roboter-Baukästen you can find some nice stuff) if you live in a bigger city you should be able to visit a conrad shop... i think they had usb-kits and stuff like that but cant find them atm. For most kits they provide online blueprints etc, but you wont get all parts cheaper than what they offer (in most cases).

ohh and by using a mini-itx you dont solve the problem on how to communicate to your motors/sensors/etc you still need some sort of usb/parallel/serial controllers (AFAIK)


T2k

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Should be possible. How exactly does the sstem work concerning proramm and OS? Does it have like linux on it and I just programm a c++ application using an SDK for output to the devices or special hex commands or how?
Plus with what servos... is it compatible?

Sorry for the tons of questions i'm just very interested:)

-CProgrammer

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