Prog | Electro| Mech

Each Day, we serving up Robotic News, Hacks, How-Tos, ect.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

SubZero Robot Update- PLC Attached

Yesterday, I got the main controller attached. Its a Parallax Propeller with 8 optically isolated outputs and 10 optically isolated inputs. For communication, it has a FT232R USB UART and access 8 unprotected I/O pins. Program Storage is accomplished via a 32kb EEPROM. I will probably be adding an SD card socket for up to 32mb of additional data storage. Propeller Homepage Link

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Awsome Quad-copters at CCCamp

Check out a couple of the awesome quad-copters that have been flying around cccamp. I happen to be building a similar model in right now, except its a tri-copter. The lack of a forth motor throws in some funky corrections that need to be made by the uController. This means it probable won't be nearly as stable as the ones in the video, still just as awesome though.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

SubZero Robot Update

I know it's been a while since I posted, but I have been incredibly busy. Anyway, I wanted to post some pics and info about the latest progress made on my robot. Basically, I got my new Laptop (a Dell Inspiron 1501) mounted in a nice foam coated box on the robots lid. Just below that, you can see the main navigational sensor, a WebCam from RadioShack. I also wrote some code in Python to take a snapshot from the WebCam, look for the center of the road, and decide if it needs to go left or right. Heres the Link to my Flickr account with all my robot pics.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Next Processor Develoupment: Marble Computing

Not Sure how I missed this one at first, but Make blog had a very interesting writeup on a 6 bit binary computer (powered only by marbles). It's amazing at how simple it really is (especially for those of you who think computers use nothing but electricity and magic). It'd be really interesting to see this implemented with 32/64 bits.

Workout with Pong

Hack-a-day has a post up about a guy who attached electrodes to his arms, and used to the electric impulses coming off his muscles to control a Pong game. I imagine you could increase the challenge quite a bit by trying to curl dumbbells and play at the same time. Link.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Is the Day of Silence Working

Wired has an interesting article about if the Internet Radio Day of Silence is working. The writer was able to get his hands on a few more figures than I could. For example, the new fees require a $500 minimum payment per month per station. With radios like Pandora, each user creates at least one station of their own. That means that it would be completely impossible for them to survive. Link.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Death of Online Radio

Today marks the death of internet radio. Starting Midnight, this morning, thousands of internet radio site shut down. It is possible that they will eventually return, however, most will likely not. The reason for their death is the fee increases imposed by the RIAA. For example, "Pandora Radio" had their rates tripled (plus, those increases are 18 months retroactive). Thanks a lot Washington. Link

Monday, June 25, 2007

Can Gaming's Powerful Pull Get Kids Into Engineering?

In last months Electronic Design magazine the editorial was titled, "Can Gaming's Powerful Pull Get Kids Into Engineering?" It discusses weather or not products like the Hydra from Parallax can pull children gamers into the game development fields. Personally, I think it depends on the child. Link.

Who needs illegal immagrants to pick fruit?

With all the immigration debate going on, one company has decided to do away with laborers all together and build robots to do the work. They have announced that they are developing a fruit picking robot that can replace human fruit pickers completely. Somehow, I doubt it will work. Link.

C to D battery Adapter

Everyone has run into this problem: you need a D battery to power something and all you have are C cells. What do you do? Make blog has the answer. Link.