I have been playing with a Arduino microcontroller and robotics bits and pieces for a while now.
I'm still designing my first robot and wanted a two-way wireless capability, but until now they were either too expensive , or too basic .
BUT NOW I HAVE THE SOLUTION: The Pololu Wixel programable USB wireless module!
It comes in a variety of packages, the one I chose was the assembled combination deal, http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1338 (picture two ), which has a pair of modules and a mini USB cable for $42 USD + shipping. Or you can get a single module either assembled (with breadboard pins) or not for $21 or $20 (pictures three & four ).
So what can it do you ask?
Well to quote Pololu:
"The Pololu Wixel is a general-purpose programmable module featuring a 2.4 GHz radio and USB. The Wixel is based on the CC2511F32 microcontroller from Texas Instruments, which has an integrated radio transceiver, 32 KB of flash memory, 4 KB of RAM, and a full-speed USB interface. A total of 15 general-purpose I/O lines are available, including 6 analog inputs "
there are very flexible fancy uses, but for starters simply download one of six (and growing) precompiled, open-source 'apps';
a. Blink an LED (Wow you say sarcasticly ! - this is just an example/test app),
b. Wireless Serial, a bidirectional lossless serial link, either end can be USB, or UART,
c. USB to TTL Serial adapter (@ 3.3V), no need to get a FTDI cable/converter,
d. I/O Repeater, wirelessly send/receive up to 15 microcontroller I/O pin states,
e. Wireless ShiftBrite RGB LED control (http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1240) ,
f. Wireless tilt mouse, using an 3-axis accelerometer.
Details of these apps can be found at http://www.pololu.com/docs/0J46/9 .
There is also much more it can do, including a SDK, which I will mention in a later step.
You should note now its main flaw; IT IS NOT 5V I/O TOLLERANT (Argh!). However this is easily managed, but be carefull connecting it on 5V projects or you'll fry a pin. You have been WARNED!
The other flaw is that when on the breadboard you can't see the pinouts, they are on the bottom! They could have used longer pins, to clear the USB connector, on the opposite side, thus breadboardable with the pinouts facing up. Version 2 Mr Pololu? You could buy the unassembled version and get some longer header pins.
Next - What you need.
(some images courtesy of Pololu)