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Welcome

Originally published Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Welcome. This is a spin-off from my other blog, blogbeebe. The idea came from my wife and kids, who suggested I create additional online diaries to better categorize my interests. This blog covers my interests in hobbyist robotics; the kind that mere mortals can afford. I have been a tinkerer in robotics since the early 80's. It was an offshoot in my interest in microprocessors and microcontrollers, such as the 6502 and 8048.

In this day and time I have the Lego Mindstorm's Robotic Invention Kit (and several add-ons of parts), several Vex Robotics kits, and all the odds and ends I've collected over the years. I've been investing in Vex since November of 2005 when I paid $300 for my first kit. I've been buying more this April because Radio Shack, the seller of Vex locally, have cut the price for just about everything in half. So now I've got sensors and rechargeable batteries and spare gears and wheels and tracks...

Another toy I have is a Gumstix and supporting boards. I purchased it about the same time I purchased my first Vex. I had the idea I'd use the Gumstix to drive controller on the Vex, but I've since discovered the Vex is a bit complicated by the fact that the protocol used to communicate with the Vex controller is undocumented. I put everything aside for a while, waiting for time to get back to it and dig out the details. Turns out that there's a new site name JVEX-robotics. It's purpose is to integrate a Java-based controller with the Vex system. I've just now started to dig into their system.

Finally, I'm waiting for Lego to release its latest robotics kit, Nxt. They started taking pre-orders April 1st, but I've held back because of the price of $250/kit. I'll probably place an order the first of May when my finances are clearer.

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