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Brains for a robot? Answered

It's time I turn yet again to the forums for advice, this time on recommended robot brains!
I have a project for a class requiring design, construction and programming of something. More than half of my fellow students are doing clocks of some sort, be they binary or nixie tube. A friend of mine is doing a holonomic robot, and my plan was to do a walking robot, based on ideas like the WowWee robosaurus, using a simple tail and head to balance and few motors to run it in comparison to any conventional biped.
As far as servos, I was hoping to use something like the HerculeX or other serially connected servo, so I can just daisy chain the few I would need and simplify the wiring, as well as get experience with serially addressing things.
Planned sensors are 2-4 IR rangefinders, 2-4 wire whiskers and one tilt switch to turn it off if it tips over.
Sensors I'd love to add would be something like a super basic camera for simple machine vision if I ever learn to code that well, but I doubt that will be the case; and the LIDAR thing from the Neato XV-11 which is again unlikely.

Things I was looking at for super basic use included: Arduino, HC11 MC (backplane type), BASIC Stamp, PIC. For a little more complexity I was seriously considering things like the Freescale Tower ARM, Gumstix or other.

I'd love to have the serial servos, sensor assemblies and the camera and have integration with Robot operating system through an onboard computer, but I have no idea what to use to setup ROS or what would be best, or if my plan of parts to use is even good enough. In other words, what ideas should I throw out as impossible or what would I need for say, ROS use?

Ideally i want to do a semi autonomous robot, so that i don't have to manually direct it everywhere, but I'd still be keeping an eye on it when it's running so it doesn't break something. If I understand ROS correctly I can use an external computer to control it, but I can also let it be autonomous?

Coding math and logic in the machine language for a Z80 computer doesn't really prepare for robot building, although the class is basically a teach programming basics and throw you into the deep end.
Thank you in advance for your help!



5 years ago

Is this a college or high school class? Do you realize the cost of components and parts add up real quick?

I would recommend an Arduino mega or regular arduino with motor relay shields. Adafruit has a massive servor/motor shield There are a lot of arduino based robots out there and instructables on them. Good luck.