AI News, Robotics/Design Basics/Basic Programming

Robotics/Design Basics/Basic Programming

Not to mention you've got emulators (A special connector plugged into the MICROcontroller socket which allows a PC to pretend to be the µcontroller) and simulators (simulates the µcontroller on a PC and allows to run its code) to hunt down the bugs.

Providing your robot with a wireless connection (IR, radio, WiFi, bluetooth,...) and a similar interface on the PC reduces the wire-problem to a limited-distance (or in the case of IR a line-of-sight) problem.

Another choice for an OS is the older MS-DOS, although MS-DOS lacks multithreading (but those can be added in your software) and has ugly memory management (remember the 640Kb limit?).

Most of the time these units used scaled down RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Chip) processors to allow for fast execution times and also allow the unit to remain smaller and lighter than your average laptop.

The kit is not really for the complete beginner though as setting up the GNU tools can be quite complicated although the development environment is consequently very rich.

They have excellent bit-manipulating possibilities, and add-on-cards for several special signals as high-speed counters, analog I/O, networks and fieldbuses (RS-232, RS422, RS-485, Ethernet, DeviceNet, Profibus...), pulse output, servo control, etc.

PLCs are available in sizes from approximately 5x5x5 cm (there is a PLC IC available as well, but for the purposes of this book we choose to ignore that fact).

The smallest ones are very limited though, with only a few I/Os and very limited memory, and also very limited instruction set with regards to data processing and calculations.

PLCs are especially suitable if you have a lot of experience of electric systems, but feel intimidated by designing and soldering PCBs and programming computers (i.e., you are an electrician).

They also shine in very large system with many special purpose sensors and outputs, as mostly there will be a standard solution from the manufacturer that is possible to use.

The first has the advantage of large amounts of memory and processing power, however lacks specific outputs that are very handy in robotics, like PWM.

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