vb.net barcode reader tutorial AN OVERVIEW OF ROBOT BRAINS in Software

Painting QR Code in Software AN OVERVIEW OF ROBOT BRAINS

AN OVERVIEW OF ROBOT BRAINS
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the stack protocol chip, IR transceiver, and miscellaneous electronics will cost you about $20). It must be pointed out that the IRDA interface will only communicate reliably if the distance between the PDA and other devices is less than 3 ft (1 m). In either case, an intelligent device will have to be connected to the serial connections and used to interface with the robot s motor drivers and sensors. The advantage of using the serial port is lower parts cost while the IRDA port avoids a direct electrical connection between the robot and the PDA, which eliminates any potential upsets of the PDA due to electrical noise coming from the robot. You can use a prepackaged serial interface chip or you can program a small microcontroller, like a BS2, to provide the serial interface to the robot peripherals.
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12.3.3 SINGLE-BOARD COMPUTERS
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If you look through older robotics books and magazines, you will see a number of robots that are controlled by single-board computers or SBCs. Like microcontrollers, an SBC can be programmed in either assembly language or in a high-level language such as BASIC or C and contain the processor and memory but also the I/O interfaces necessary to control a robot. SBCs avoid the programming issues of microcontrollers due to the built-in RS-232 or Ethernet interfaces, which allow simple application transfers. Older SBCs used with robots were generally based on the Motorola 68HC11 microcontroller because of the large amount of software and tools available for them. Another type of SBC that has been popular with roboticists in the past is the PC/104 form factor in which a processor card could be plugged directly into stacking memory, I/O, or video output cards. Despite the apparent bias in its name, many processor cards are available for the PC/104 form factor, providing the ability to use a PC processor, a Motorola 68000, MIPs, or Sparc processor with standard hardware. Applications for PC/104 systems were usually downloaded into on-board EPROM or Flash memory chips. This approach offered tremendous flexibility although at a fairly high cost. Most modern single-board computers are full PCs with complete systems built on a small circuit board. A very popular form factor is the mini-ITX, which provides a complete PC in a 6.7 in square. These systems can support many hundreds of megabytes of memory and can run Microsoft Windows or Linux operating systems, allowing standard PC development tools to be used for program development. There are three downsides to using SBCs in robots, especially if you are starting out and are designing your own robot:
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Power required by SBCs is usually more than a single supply and they do not have on-board voltage regulators. A Mini-ITX motherboard requires, +3.3, +5, +12, 5 and 12 V provided to it for proper operation. High-capacity batteries and DC DC converters can provide appropriate voltages, but their weight and size results in the SBC only being used in large robots. Installing an operating system and running an application can be very challenging. Disk drives are very unreliable in a robot environment where the robot vibrates as it moves, and also require a great deal of power. A USB Flash memory thumb drive could be used, but this device would have to be loaded with an image of the operating system along with
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12.3 TYPES OF COMPUTERS FOR ROBOTS
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application code. Versions of Linux can be found on the Internet that are suitable for loading in and booting from a thumb drive, but this is not a trivial exercise. Adding I/O ports would most likely be through the SBC s USB ports. There are a number of suppliers that have digital I/O as well as different advanced function I/O cards available that connect to a PC via USB. Depending on the interface cards, the software interfaces to the I/O functions can be quick, sophisticated, and difficult to program.
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Despite the drawbacks, the use of single-board computers, especially those that are PC based, offer some intriguing possibilities. As previously discussed, it would be nice to be able to debug a robot application while it is working in a mobile robot. This is extremely difficult with microcontrollers, but it could be quite easy to do in an SBC-controlled robot; if it were equipped with an 802.11 (or any other wireless) network card, the SBC could run the debugger and make its display available to other PCs on the wireless network via X-Windows. Another possible application would be to use the network interface to stream video from the robot to a base station that was controlling the robot. The code required for these applications is readily available over the Internet and could be added to a robot with very little extra work. 12.3.3.1 Single-Board Computer Kits To handle different kinds of jobs, SBCs are available in larger or smaller sizes than the 4-by-4-in PC/104. And while most SBCs are available in ready-made form, they are also popular as kits. For example, the BotBoard series of single-board computers, designed by robot enthusiast Marvin Green, combine a Motorola 68HC11 microcontroller with outboard interfacing electronics. The Miniboard and HandyBoard, designed by instructors at MIT, are other single-board computers based on the HC11; both are provided in kit and ready-made form from various sources.
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