how to connect barcode scanner to visual basic 2010 CONSTRUCTING HIGH-TECH ROBOTS FROM TOYS in Software

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144 CONSTRUCTING HIGH-TECH ROBOTS FROM TOYS
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FIGURE 11.7 The indefatigable Armatron motorized robotic arm, still occasionally available at Radio Shack.
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motors, and tracks. You can keep the remote control system as is or remove the remote receiver (or wires, if it s a wired remote) and replace it with new control circuitry. In the case of a wired remote, you can substitute relays for the switches in the remote. Of course, each toy is a little different, so you ll need to adapt this wiring diagram to suit the construction of the vehicle you are using. Another option is to use two small motorized vehicles (mini 4-wheel-drive trucks are perfect), remove the wheels on opposite sides, and mount them on a robot platform. Your robot uses the remaining wheels for traction. Each of the vehicles is driven by a single motor, but since you have two vehicles (see Fig. 11.8), you still gain independent control of both wheel sides. The trick is to make sure that, whatever vehicles you use, they are the same exact type. Variations in design (motor, wheel, etc.) will cause your robot to crab to one side as it attempts to travel a straight line. The reason: the motor in one vehicle will undoubtedly run a little slower or faster than the other, and the speed differential will cause your robot to veer off course.
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MOTORIZING VEHICLES
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Not all toy vehicles already have motors. If you find a motorless vehicle that s nevertheless perfect as a robot base, consider adding motors to it. You can cannibalize the motors (and gear train) from another toy and implant them in your new robot base. Or you can purchase one of the motor kits made by Tamiya (see Specialty Toys for Robot Hacking, earlier in this chapter) and retrofit it onto your robot. The dual-motor kit described in 10 is small enough to be used on most toy vehicles, and it can be readily mounted using screws, double-sided tape, hook-and-loop (Velcro), or other techniques.
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FIGURE 11.8 You can build a motorized robot platform by cannibalizing two small motorized toys and using each half of them.
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To learn more about...
Using LEGO to create robots Building robots with the LEGO Mindstorms system Brains you can add to robots made from toys Controlling a small robot using the IBM PC parallel port
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12, Build Custom LEGO-based Robots 13, Creating Functionoids with LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 28, An Overview of Robot Brains 30, Computer Control via PC Printer Port
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BUILD CUSTOM LEGO-BASED ROBOTS
nce just a playtime toy for youngsters, LEGO parts are now used in schools to teach construction and mechanics, even robotics. In fact, LEGO bots are becoming so common that many schools and libraries around the world host LEGO robot-building races and competitions. The main benefit of a LEGO-based robot: The snap-together design of LEGO pieces allows you to build a robot in just an hour or two, with no cutting or drilling necessary. Changes and improvements are easy to make too, and you can do them on the fly as you experiment with new ideas. There are plenty of books, magazine articles, and Internet sites that discuss the design and construction of all-LEGO robots. So, in this chapter we ll review another approach: using various LEGO parts as a basis for a robot and then augmenting those parts with other construction materials. For example, the robot described in this chapter uses modified hobby servo motors and not the more costly LEGO gear motors. Some gluing and other so-called hard construction is also called for.
Working with LEGO Parts
There are several dozen varieties of LEGO parts, which come in various sizes (not to mention colors). In your robotics work you ll likely encounter the primary construction pieces detailed in the following subsections.
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