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Pic Robotics: A Beginner's Guide to Robotics Projects Using the Pic Micro

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2004

    An excellent introduction to robotics with the PIC.

    I've been programming PIC Microcontrollers (with PIC Basic Pro) for a while now. They're really an invaluable tool for the modern electronics hobbyist, and the PIC Basic language couldn't be easier to write with. That being said, this book does assume you have at least some minimal knowledge of Basic, but really you could get by without it (the very point of Basic is that it's supposed to read like plain English -- which it does!), as the function of nearly every line of code is explained. The first few chapters are even dedicated to showing a complete beginner how to compile and program everything and build a basic test circuit. Very helpful if you've never worked with PICs before. But on to the real substance of the book -- the projects! There's six complete robotics projects here; ranging from primitive light-seeking robots (that recreate some of the first robots ever to be built, back when AI was a new idea) to a bipedal walker (meaning, it actually has legs and a gait like that of a human -- it doesn't just tilt and waddle to simulate 'walking' as virtually every other one of these purported 'bipedal' robots do), robotic arms (made from ordinary servomotors), a six-legged walker, speech recognition and a full-color vision system. Impressive! Another nice thing is that every one of them can be built with basic, inexpensive tools (though pre-made circuit boards and kits are available, to make it even easier). The diagrams and illustrations are clear and concise; every detail of every step is shown -- you can't go wrong. As I mentioned, the real walking action of the bipedal walker is quite impressive, but I'd like to say more about the vision system, or the CMU Camera. This is a small camera which outputs data serially, to either your PC or a PIC Micro. In this instance, the camera is mounted on top of a three-wheel robot which can, utilizing edge detection in the PIC, actually follow a given target! This may sound complex (and, I suppose, it is), but it's explained in a very easy-to-follow manner. And it's more than just 'put this part here' -- the theory is explained in terms that make it easy to understand, too. This gives you the know-how to put these concepts to use in your own projects. If you're interested in building your own robots, this book is an excellent way to get started.

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