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We thank William Linne and Thomas Emch whose suggestions and comments have added greatly to the nal text. We also thank Stephanie Lindsay at Parallax, Inc. for her support and contributions. A special thanks to everyone at McGraw-Hill, especially Judy Bass, for making the huge task of writing this book an enjoyable experience.
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Copyright 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Click here for terms of use.
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In Part 1, besides exploring the advantages and utility of simulators, we introduce the RobotBASIC IDE (integrated development environment) and language along with the robot simulator. Initially we develop simple programs to illustrate the mechanisms for creating and animating a robot. Later chapters introduce the available sensory systems and show how to use them to avoid obstacles while the robot is roaming around its environment. The RobotBASIC programming language is introduced in stages in Chaps. 2 to 5. Flow-control statements, conditional execution, binary math, bitwise operators, and subroutines are introduced with application to the simulator. Many commands, along with some mathematical functions and concepts, are introduced while writing programs to control the robot. Each chapter introduces pertinent new skills while building upon previous knowledge to accumulate the expertise necessary for building the toolbox of behaviors that will be developed in Part 2. Upon completing Part 1 you will be able to: Create, edit, open, and save programs using the IDE. Write programs using the language to a good level of pro ciency: Get input from a user using the mouse and keyboard. Display output and graphics on the screen. Do conditional execution. Use looping constructs. Understand and utilize commands and functions. Use binary numbers and bitwise operations. Apply modularity and utilize subroutines. Manipulate the robot and utilize most of its sensory systems: Move the robot in a simulated environment. Interrogate and interpret the infrared and bumper sensors. Be aware of other sensors and instrumentation. Use the Debugger to debug programs.
Copyright 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Click here for terms of use.
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CHAPTER
WHY SIMULATIONS
ince you are reading this book, you must be interested in robotics to a certain extent. Perhaps you are a member of a robot club or attend a technical school and have a little experience building your own robots. Maybe you have purchased a robot kit and want to learn how to customize it. Maybe you want to learn about robotics but don t have the funds to buy or build a robot of your own. If you fall into any of these categories, a robot simulator is a very effective way to learn about robotics and robotic algorithms. A robot simulator is also a valuable tool for experimenting with various possibilities and combinations of hardware and software arrangements without the time delay and expense incurred when building an actual robot.
1.1 What Is RobotBASIC
In general, this book is about a computer language called RobotBASIC. More speci cally, this book is about how you can use RobotBASIC to prototype algorithms that enable a robot to interact with its environment. The advantage of a simulator is that you can do this without having to buy or build an actual robot. RobotBASIC allows you to create a simulated robot on your computer screen. As we progress through the algorithms in this book you will nd that the simulated robot is very much like the real thing. It can be placed in rooms with furniture, or outside so that it can mow a yard. You can program the simulator to do nearly anything a real robot can do.
Copyright 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Click here for terms of use.
BUILDING BLOCKS
After studying this book you will be able to program a robot to, for example, navigate throughout the rooms in your home to nd and plug itself into a battery charging station. That last statement was very important. Notice that we did not say that you would be able to program the simulated robot We said you would be able to program a robot. The robot in RobotBASIC is so realistic and accurate in its ability to mimic a real robot, that the very same algorithms and principles you use to program the simulated robot can be used to control a real one. 17 shows how to build a real world equivalent of the robot simulated in RobotBASIC and shows how you can utilize the algorithms developed in this book to program an actual robot.
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