jhaig
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:35 pm

Re: Robotics for beginners

Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:19 pm

I would be interested in getting a Pi to play around with robotics. The only problem is that I have absolutely no experience with robotics so I do not know where to start. Can anyone suggest (or point me to) a comprehensive list of parts and software that would be required to get going? I suppose the main question is what are the recommended motors/servos to use and how would they be connected and are there any particular things to avoid.

Regarding software, something that would work with perl would be best but I'm not adverse to using something else or even poking around with sending raw data to devices.

WizardOfOZ
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:08 am

Re: Robotics for beginners

Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:37 pm

I suspect you may be out a bit early with your request. Most of the items you seek haven't been developed for the Pi yet, and development won't start until at least the first boards starts to ship.

Judging by the chit-chat on the forum, then I would guess it won't be overly long into next year until we will start to get some idea about the good ways of using the Pi for robotics. Seems there are many people around with an interest in the subject, so at this time my best piece of advice is just to kick back and follow the flow. Somebody is bound to come up with some ideas along what you are seeking. :)

Lakes
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:17 pm

Re: Robotics for beginners

Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:58 pm

If you don`t want to wait, there`s always the PICaxe or Arduino boards to get you started, loads of info around on how to use them.
You can then connect the RasPi to communicate with them.

jhaig
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:35 pm

Re: Robotics for beginners

Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:07 am

Thanks for the responses. I understand that official add-ons for the device are not going to be produced until it is finally released but I know that there are generic robotics projects out there that use Linux and this is what I had in mind. What I am looking for is advice as to what is expected to be compatible and what extras would be required.

My (naive) list would comprise:

* 1 Raspberry Pi
* 1 wireless network adapter (can you get these to connect to the RJ45?)
* powered usb hub
* some sort of battery power supply
* a number of motors (I have no idea what to look for here)
* bits to tie it all together (Lego?)
* software for talking to motors (TBD)

I expect to write the actual network communication side myself.

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meltwater
Posts: 1015
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:38 am

Re: Robotics for beginners

Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:42 am

I'm on the same thought track, but support such as drivers etc will come quickly after by the sound of things. In particular the gurtboard it seems will allow way to connect to the all important GPIO pins with less risk of cooking your own pi.

Your typical robotic components are what you need here (your list is reasonable enough).
1. R-Pi (this is quite key, something I would love to have for my kit)
2. wireless network adaptor, would probably be a simple usb dongle (which chipsets are supported will remain to be seen, current suggestions are to look out for devices which are supported by current distros or to wait)
3. -
4. Since they have chosen standard 5v it may mean that many of the mobile power packs are an option, just watch out for what current it can output (the r-pi can take up 500mA so may not leave much to routing out to the motors etc). I'm also hopeful that a good solution can be found along the lines of the mintyboost to allow a wide range of batteries to be used.
5. Two key types of motors you can consider...
a) Stepper motors - Costly, accurate and controlled but need lots of i/o to control (lookup how they work to see why).
b) DC motors - cheap, inaccurate but you can add sensors to determine the movement made. You'll also need some gearboxes to step down the speed to something you can control. Also, GPIO pins should be treated like signals so you need to consider how to convert a signal into something which can drive the higher power needed to run a motor (things like transistor switches and Darlington-pairs, or even relays).
6. It is easy to forget everything has to be mounted somehow, and linking a motor to a driving wheel can be difficult if you don't have an easy to adjust platform.
7. Software:
This is my take on how it may pan out (obviously my thoughts and a lot of speculation):
Driving the pins it appears it will be though the linux gpio support (once drivers are created) initially. So it will be lower level programming through C etc but you may be able to write linux scripts too.
I would expect the groups which have pledged support to the r-pi such as KidsRuby may introduce their own tie ins to the pins later on and hopefully interfacing will get easier as this is developed...remember the education market phase is planned for later (which I would imagine would aim to make this aspect as simple as possible).
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Lakes
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:17 pm

Re: Robotics for beginners

Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:54 am

"6. It is easy to forget everything has to be mounted somehow, and linking a motor to a driving wheel can be difficult if you don't have an easy to adjust platform."
http://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/.....ot-chassis
The cheapest I`ve found.

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meltwater
Posts: 1015
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:38 am

Re: Robotics for beginners

Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:24 am

Seems like a good option. I was thinking of getting the kids a basic radio controlled car or something, which can later be recycled :D
______________
http://www.themagpi.com/
A Magazine for Raspberry Pi Users
Read Online or Download for Free.

My new book: goo.gl/dmVtsc

Meltwater's Pi Hardware - pihardware.com

Like the MagPi? @TheMagP1 @TheMagPiTeam


noonv
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:25 am
Contact: Website

Re: Robotics for beginners

Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:00 pm

interesting - does Pi will run ROS?


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