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how to program robots?


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The robot will have a computer on it. It's the same as any other computer program, except that some of the inputs might be sensory data and such, and some of the outputs will be for the robot's motors and such.

Not quite the same. Memory allocation, virtual memory, and disk I/O are typically verboten or limited to startup operations only. The OS is often rather minimal. Access to OS functionality is typically walled off. Programming is often done using a cross compiler.




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There are multiple ways in doing this. If you are trying to make a robot separate from it being connected to a computer, you would need to use a micro-controller of some type. Essentially you would write code for that specific controller (that has computational limits) and the controller would be connected to your actuators and sensors, which are the majority of what you would be controlling.


It's not an easy task, imo. At least for doing a cheap route. You could use prototyping tools (most likely expensive), such as Simulink from Matlab (which could be a school license) and a controller from Motohawk or something like that. Or you could use lower level micro-controller, from TI that essentially uses assembler to do the functions you would require.


For example, we use a Motohawk controller for our engine in our hybrid vehicle for the OSU EcoCAR team and a dSpace micro-autobox for our supervisory controller (the one the controls everything the vehicle does).


The reason I mention this, is because you could essentially use this type of system to make a robot, same idea, different application.


Or once again use a micro-controller that is more of a micro-processor, depending on what you want to do.

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Each microcontroller manufacturer generally provides HW devices called "programmers" that are used for that purpose. However, some microcontrollers can be flashed with simple do-it-yourself tools (like LPT port to JTAG interface programmer/debugger circuit).


AVR microcontrollers are a good option:




It really depends on what you are interested in...

If you just want to design neat and sweet algorithms and concentrate on learning and education, then a simple LEGO robot will be sufficient, though you will be severy limited on what can you do and with what efficiancy.


However, if you have serious interest about robots and embedded programming, I suggest, that you research the whole development process and perhaps set aside a small amount of money to buy a programmer and an evaluation board (a simple circuit with some microcontroller and integrated peripherals - displays, signal inputs/outputs, motors, speakers, cameras etc.).


This is not, by far, an expensive solution, but undoubtly it's a hard one to pursue. You will likely be faced with many practical problems,

especially if you don't have much proficiency in electronics and in embedded SW development.

Edited by vordhosbn
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