Robotics Links
Colin Mitchell
Colin Mitchell
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Table Of Contents

news and FAQs
Sites with photos of robots
Robot-Assisted Surgery and Medicine
tiny robots
tiny robots
web-enabled embedded systems
physical robot construction
walking robots
modular robots and reconfigurable robots
Robotics Organizations
simulated robots / software games
LEGO/LOGO robotics
Touch-screens, flat-panel monitors, and LCD displays
controllers (micro-controllers)
Ready-to-use Robot Brains
more PC-104 boards
Programmable Logic (FPGA, PLD, CPLD, Cypress SPLD, etc.)
Robot Communication Methods
Haptic sensing (touch sensors)(tactile sensors)
interesting electronic parts + companies
interesting mechanical parts + companies
B.E.A.M. robots
flying robots
swimming robots
electric motors and motor control electronics [PID]
servo motor information
linear motors
fuzzy logic
resistor color codes and standard values
tools for building robots
fuel cells
battery info
some surface-mount components
solar cells
misc unsorted robot projects
More interesting chips
Robotics Connection: A Reference Guide for Robotics Enthusiasts

This is just something I threw together that I thought you might find useful. I can only write about what I hear about, so if you know something that I’ve left out, please tell me. Comments?

added 22-07-2015: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBFFfxVbvpNRGf-th2x0cg6P_DPBxg-s6 Videos showing the capability of Robots

This list is enormous. Let’s start:

Much of that stuff isn’t used in most robots, but I haven’t found a better way to organize it yet. [FIXME: this is getting long. delete redundant stuff … break into several files ?]

2002-07-25:DAV: I had no idea. According to http://www.androidworld.com/prod05.htm, as of 03/10/2002 my little collection of links here is the 4th largest robotics page in the world. Whee !

David also maintains related files:

[Consider making a “parts” section of robot_links; make CPUs a subs-section.] [FIXME: this page is way to large. Split into smaller pages and cross-link; trim out some of the lower-quality stuff]

[FIXME: do I need a section on AI (artificial intelligence) ?


news and FAQs

Sites with photos of robots

(see also #androids for some amazing pictures).

Robot-Assisted Surgery and Medicine

[FIXME: should I comb out prosthesis and put them in a seperate section ?]

tiny robots

see also tiny CPUs computer_architecture.html#simple_cpu .

On one end of the scale we have isolated autonomous robots.

In the middle we have swarms of small robots that communicate, but try to avoid crashing into each other.

Over at #modular I talk about robots that are built out of physically attaching many identical modules. In theory, the base module can be even simpler than the simplest isolated autonomous robot.

Some ideas that drive me towards tiny robots:

  • safety: A smaller robot is less likely to be physically able to hurt a human.
  • less breakable: Because of scaling laws, a smaller piece of material (or the entire robot of the same type) is proportionally stronger. In other words, I can make each part out of cheaper / easier to machine materials without worrying about it breaking.
  • cost: smaller is often cheaper. This is especially important if I’m going to build a lot of them.
  • redundancy: If I build several robots, I’m not so upset when one of them breaks.
  • … any other ideas ?

some “tiny robot” projects:

  • The Ants http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/ants/ are a community of cubic-inch microrobots at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. Cost: $300 in parts and who knows how many hundreds of thousands in labor.

  • Crickets http://fredm.www.media.mit.edu/people/fredm/projects/cricket/

    The Cricket is a tiny computer, powered by a 9 volt battery, that can control two motors and receive information from two sensors. Crickets are equipped with an infrared communication system that allows them to communicate with each other.

    … based on the Microchip PIC … User programs are downloaded to the Cricket via its infrared communications system. … LEDs on the Cricket … Crickets are programmed in a dialect of the Logo programming language …

    [FIXME: very cool. build some ?]

    Cricket Logo http://el.www.media.mit.edu/people/mikhak/sas99/

  • “self-organization in large populations of mobile robots” thesis by Cem Ünsal http://armyant.ee.vt.edu/unsalWWW/cemsthesis.html includes Matlab programs

tiny robots

tiny robots

[Some of these overlap into my “flying robots” category — merge ?]

  • photographs of Smart-Dust prototypes. http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~jhill/spec/ the single chip mote vision is a reality. The high level details are that it measures approx 2mmx2.5mm, has an AVR-like RISC core on it, 3K of memory, 8 bit On-chip ADC, FSK radio transmitter, Paged memory system, communication protocol accelerators, register windows, 32 Khz oscillator, SPI programming interface, RS232 compatible UART, 4-bit input port, 4-bit output port, … memory-mapped active messages, FLL based frequency synthesizer, Over-sampled communication synchronization Jason Hill [FIXME: read more about “TinyOS”]
  • “Smart Dust: Communicating with a Cubic-Millimeter Computer” article by Brett Warneke, Matt Last, Brian Liebowitz, Kristofer Pister. in Computer magazine 2001-01. [DAV has this on paper]
  • “Spies in the Skies: Researchers are developing tiny, airborne devices that can look and listen as they float” article by Peter Kupfer, Chronicle Staff Writer http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/11/20/MN62513.DTL&type=science Kristofer Pister developing “smart dust”

web-enabled embedded systems

Many devices (printers, etc.) now use not just standard Internet Protocol but have a small web server embedded in them for input and to indicate status rather than using floppy disks or LCD panels or tiny little keyboards or other proprietary communication protocols.

[FIXME: Is there a better file for me to keep this category ?]

web appliances

[ Intelligent Instrumentation, Inc. http://www.instrument.com/ ethernet data acquisition system ] is very similar …

physical robot construction

See also nanotech.html and computer_architecture.html#replication for some more ideas on self-replication.

walking robots

modular robots and reconfigurable robots

modular robots: robots that are built from *lots* of identical pieces.

Buzzwords: metamorphic; reconfigurable; smart matter; …

reconfigurable robots: robots with parts that can be disconnected and then re-connected in a different configuration. (The really cool ones can reconfigure themselves “self-reconfigure”, rather than requiring a human with a screwdriver).

[is this related to replication computer_architecture.html#replication ?]

Robotics Organizations

simulated robots / software games

LEGO/LOGO robotics

Touch-screens, flat-panel monitors, and LCD displays

[FIXME: move elsewhere … to its own file perhaps ?] [microdisplays … wearable_electronic.html ]

(in no particular order)

  • National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE:NSM) http://www.national.com/appinfo/fpd/vivid/“has acquired the operations of Vivid Semiconductor, Inc., a flat-panel display design firm”
  • Three-Five Systems, Inc. http://threefive.com/ LCD & OLED displays
  • MicroDisplay Corporation http://www.microdisplay.com/“single-panel LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) microdisplay”
  • Displaytech, Inc. http://displaytech.com/“microdisplays … for … digital still camera and camcorder viewfinders”
  • Zight Corporation formerly named Colorado MicroDisplay
  • Candescent Technologies Corporation http://candescent.com/“ThinCRT” flat panel display technology
  • http://holyjoe.org/rainbow.htm talks (with photos) about the annoying ``rainbows” on some LCD panels. Also has photos illustrating the fact that it *is* possible to make LCD panels that you can read while wearing polarized sunglasses, no matter how you turn the display around: ``All I know is that it can be done, so manufacturers should do it!”.
  • Planar Systems, Inc. http://www.planar.com/(Nasdaq: PLNR) sells “embedded LCD displays” and LCD TVs and Plasma TVs.
  • https://cybernetman.com/ sells some touch-screen displays
  • [flat-panel] http://www.earthlcd.com/ all kinds of LCDs from full-size, full-color LCD monitors and touch monitors to small graphic LCDs to (~$7) small serial character LCDs.
  • http://www.mosaic-industries.com/
  • Intecolor http://www.intecolor.com/
  • Xycom (10.4 inch VIS 640x480 color active flat panel display)
  • Crystaloid (touch screen LCD module)
  • Lucas Control System Products (Touch screen computers … can be completely sealed … infrared-based touch screen)
  • Elo TouchSystems Inc. (“Curved transparent touchscreen”, apparently a touch sensor to stick to the face of a monitor)
  • Dolch Computer Systems http://www.dolch.com/ (“flat-panel monitors and intelligent displays … 640x480 to 1280x1024 … all available with touchscreen interfaces … Pentium embedded computers … fiber-optic interfaces …)
  • B&R Industrial Automation http://www.br.automation.industry.net/ has flat-panel PC
  • xycom http://xycom.com/ has AMD5x86 flat-panel touch screen PC (with IrDA infrared port)
  • QSI Corporation http://www.qsicorp.com/$705 Graphic Terminal; text and graphics; 240x128 pixels; backlit touch screen; EIA-232 or EIA-422 interface.
  • C Sys Labs Inc. http://www.rdrop.com/~cary/html/ sells graphic flat panel LCDs (touchscreen)
  • QSI Corporation http://www.qsicorp.com/ sells graphic flat-panel LCDs (touch screen)
  • ZF Microsystems http://zfmicro.com/ flat-panel computer
  • $450 (in 100 s) OP7100 C programmable graphic LCD touch screen Z World http://www.zworld.com/
  • Polar Vision sells ``enhancement films” for LCD panels FIXME

The exact opposite of these LCD panels is huge projection displays such as http://www.virtual-reality.com/.

controllers (micro-controllers)

microcontroller chips (AVR, PIC, BASIC Stamp, etc.) that can be used to build Robot Brains . (what about 16 bit and 32 bit microcontrollers, like the 680x0 and ARM ?)


PIC and BASIC Stamp

including PIC C compilers C language

[FIXME: move all this info to http://massmind.org/]

PIC Microcontroller Programmers http://massmind.org/techref/microchip/devprogs.htm

Motorola 68HC11, 68HC12, and 68HC16

Motorola 68K, 68000, and ColdFire


4 bit microcontrollers

  • MARC4 from Atmel/Temic (typically programmed in FORTH)
  • Sanyo 5800 and 5700 series of processors
  • “Sanyo and µEM come to mind concerning ultra low power micros (with LCD interface).” — Stefan Wimmer 1999/09/02 http://www.cellware.de/

ucontroller development tools

[FIXME: I have 68HC11 stuff scattered back and forth between here and #68HC11. Should I merge them together, or how to discriminate what goes where ? ]

DonTronics http://www.dontronics.com/ has lots of free information. sells “Simmsticks” (tiny, low-cost little boards with a MicroChip PICmicro microprocessor or a Atmel 89Cx051 microprocessor), programmers for them that plug into a PC parallel port, and some software tools to write programs for them (assembly, BASIC compilers, C compilers). Interesting “paperless” business concept: only physical hardware is delivered; everything that other people handle with shipping disks or paper documentation is handled instead via the web or email.

PIC16C84 info http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Network/3656/ including a free C compiler and other GPL utilities for the PIC.

Microchip PIC and parallax STAMP microcontrollers http://www.pacifier.com/~mcginty/

microEngineering Labs, Inc. http://www.melabs.com/mel/picproto.htm sells “raw” PIC prototyping boards (buy the PIC, crystal, capacitors, regulator, etc. seperately) for about $10. (It seems that the board + all the parts should run less than $30 but I can’t tell whether it needs a $50 programmer or not).

Square 1 Electronics http://www.zapcom.net/~squareone PIC book Easy PIC’n

``The first and only C++ compiler for PICmicro and Scenix processors” (Shareware $90) ``Pascal-compiler for PICmicro and Scenix micros” ``The SmartBow® Software is a way to easilly create an HTML-document with a set of Virtual Controls (LEDs, buttons, displays etc.) connected to you code running on Microchip®, Scenix® or any other microprocessos.” and other PIC related shareware and postcard-ware. http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Network/3656/ Pavel Baranov

— Tom Mornini ---------------------------------------------------------- — Parallax, Inc. ------------------------------------------------------ — Makers of really cool PIC development tools & the BASIC Stamps ------ — http://www.parallaxinc.com/ ftp://ftp.parallaxinc.com/pub —

Scenix Semiconductor Inc. http://www.scenix.com/ claims to sell “world’s fastest 8 bit µcontroller” Scenix designed the SX-18 ($3.24 in 1,000 units in 1997 Aug Electronic Design p. 50) and SX-28 ($3.48 in 1,000 units in 1997 Aug Electronic Design p. 50) chips to be pin- and object-code- compatible with the PIC 16C5x series from Microchip, but at 50 MHz (1 instruction per clock, branches 3). Also In-Circuit Programmable, 2028x12bits EEFLASH, 136 Bytes RAM, all outputs sink and source 30 mA, etc.

http://www.sx-forum.com/ has an online discussion forum about the SX series of processors from Ubicom http://www.ubicom.com/(formerly known as Scenix).

Parallax http://www.parallaxinc.com/ uses the Scenix chips in a $199 “SX Development System” including 2 SX chips, a board, software, and a manual. Includes ICE-like single-stepping, full-speed emulation, in-circuit programming, etc.

Microchip Technology Inc. 1-888-MCU-MCHP http://www.microchip.com/ produces lots of interesting components:
Produces the PIC “FLASH RISC MCU” PIC microcontrollers (Don Lancaster is enamored with). Some PIC chips have “2-wire In-Circuit Serial Programming(tm)“. (free technical library CD-ROM) KeeLoq code hopping devices Serial EEPROMs QuickASIC (?)

$0.75 each (in 1 000s) 25LC640: 8 pin serial EEPROM, 8 K * 8 bits; 2 MHz clock; 2.5 V to 5.5 V (price from EEPN 1998 July p.17)

The chips that have FLASH program memory ($6.60 in ones from Digi-Key) that can be erased and reprogrammed by plugging a In-Circuit Serial Programming (ICSP) programmer into a 5 pin ICSP socket look pretty cool. Too bad that (as of 1998-08-07) none of the FLASH memory PICs have a PWM peripheral. (Looks like they’re planning some for next year…) [FIXME: move information to http://massmind.org/

Other specific microcontroller chips

see computer_architecture.html for more about CPUs and microcontrollers in general.

Cypress sells a 8-bit USB Microcontroller for under $1 (in quantity). http://www.cypress.com/cypress/whathot/hot_top.htm

Ready-to-use Robot Brains

PC-104 single-board computers. (I suppose one *could* use them for other purposes).

see ucontrollers for more detailed robot brain info (and alternatives to PC-104 Robot Brains).

more PC-104 boards

Also see vlsi.html#pci for more PCI information (relevant for PC/104-Plus) and schematic.html for some information relevant to designing PC-104 boards.

  • The PC/104 Consortium http://www.pc104.org/“The Consortium maintains and distributes the PC/104 specifications and serves as a liaison to standards bodies including IEEE P996.1.” Includes a free copy of the latest PC/104-Plus (PCI) and PC/104 standards.
  • The Journal of PC/104 Controlled Systems http://www.controlled.com/pc104/
  • Chase Scientific Co. http://www.chase2000.com/$1895 CS20-PC/104 dual 12-bit differential input channels 10 MSPS 32 bits digital I/O four 12-bit analog outputs 32 Kwords per channel

Programmable Logic (FPGA, PLD, CPLD, Cypress SPLD, etc.)

Information about programmable chips, and the devices needed to program them. (FIXME: move devices needed to program ucontrollers such as the PIC to #udevelopment ).

See also vlsi.html ( vlsi.html#PCI_on_FPGA ) for more detailed information on chip design and using FPGAs, and computer_architecture.html#FPGA for information on reconfigurable computing.

Robot Communication Methods

see also 2-way infrared data communication


CAN (Controller Area Network) on the 68HC11

Haptic sensing (touch sensors)(tactile sensors)

interesting electronic parts + companies

look at: …

http://www.unitrode.com DC motor drive chips audio amp chips

Zagros Electronics (robot parts ?) http://walden.mo.net/~zagros/zagros.htm

interesting mechanical parts + companies

robot company http://www.rwii.com

sells tiny RE016-042 motor, 16 mm diameter, 43.5 mm long, maximum continous torque over 5 mNm, efficiency exceeds 80%. Maxon Precision Motors, Inc. http://www.maxonmotor.com

B.E.A.M. robots

“BEAM, which stands for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics (amongst others) is a system founded by Mark W. Tilden while at the University of Waterloo (Canada) that allows first time [robot] enthusiasts to get started easily.”

  • BEAM robots (!) (incredibly simple … Mark Tilden) BEAM e-mail list and you can find all of the related sites from: http://www.webconn.com/~mwd/beam.html
  • “Robots from Rubbish” http://www.wired.com/news/news/wiredview/story/11285.html article on BEAM robotics (biology, electronics, aesthetics, and mechanics), with some good links.
  • “A lot of people think that building robots is a complicated thing that is limited to university researchers and military techies with huge budgets on hand. Although that may be true in some cases, it’s definitely not a universal problem. All you need to a robot with is some simple tools, a few parts, a little time to assemble it, a lot of time to figure out what went wrong, a few pizzas to get you back in the robot-building mood, a couple of multi-letter discussions to the BEAM mailing list to find out what went wrong …and a good sense of humor” http://www.welcome.to/beam/ Has lots of recommendations for tools, parts, etc. Lots of good links, too.
  • BEAM ROBOTICS http://nis-www.lanl.gov/robot/ includes “Plans for building your own solaroller. ”
  • “the MicroCore” papers by amiller (who ?) about BEAM robots in the style of Mark W. Tilden. http://vsim.freeservers.com/amiller/microcore.html gives step by step details trying to explain how to build a BEAM robot. “the only way to see if something is gonna work is to build the sucker”
  • Dave Hrynkiw, Founder of Solarbotics Ltd http://www.solarbotics.com/ sells robot parts; in particular “Robot technology based around the BEAM philosophy as invented by Mark Tilden.” Has a nice little gallery of BEAM robot photos.


DAV personally is interested in machines that do stuff that humans can not do or would prefer not to do.

Other people try to make androids — machines that look and act as much like humans as possible.

flying robots

Flying robots, sometimes called UAVs (autonomous unmanned vehicles).

This includes every (?) artificial thing that flies that

  • (a) is not directly controlled by a human inside the craft (is unmanned), unlike ultralights, 747s, etc., and
  • (b) is not directly controlled by a human outside the craft (is autonomous), unlike RC (radio control) aircraft.

perhaps distantly related to 3d_design.html#paper_airplanes

  • Notre Dame Micro Aerial Vehicle Development Group http://www.nd.edu/~mav/ has links to many other web pages with UAV information.

  • “Instant Glider—Just add Light Sun-hardened, blow-up wings tested by students this weekend may someday carry a robotic glider through the skies of Mars” May 2, 2003 http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/02may_bigblue.htm BIG BLUE—short for Baseline Inflatable Glider Balloon Launched Unmanned Experiment.

  • “CarterCopter: a high-speed, low-cost helicopter” http://www.gizmo.com.au/public/News/news.asp?articleid=2504 mentions using technology developed for “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” to make flight safer for manned aircraft.

  • “Epson develops levitating micro robot” article by Yoshiko Hara, EE Times Dec 1 2003 (9:00 AM) http://www.embedded.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=16401109

    TOKYO — Seiko Epson Corp. has developed a micro robot weighing just 8.9 grams that can sort of fly. …

    [wired to] a 3.5V DC power supply … The robot has a lifting power of 13 grams, providing surplus lifting power for an additional battery.

    The “Micro Flying Robot” … two contra-rotating propellers powered by four 7x2x1-mm sized ultrasonic motors. The motors were originally developed for wristwatches. … The robot operates at 300 kHz and generates power of 1W per gram. Epson claims this to be the world’s highest power-weight ratio.

    Epson developed the robot to demonstrate its homegrown micromechatronics technology. The robot consists of a 2.5 gram control module with two CPUs; a 1.3-gram Bluetooth module; a 1.3-gram sensor unit with a gyro-sensor, an accelerometer and an image sensor; and a 5.1-gram mechanical unit including two contra-rotating propellers, four ultrasonic mortars, a stabilizer and a posture control unit.

    … Copyright 2003 © CMP Media LLC

  • “Next Time, It Can Be Worse” article by Jef Raskin. http://humane.sourceforge.net/unpublished/next_time_can_be_worse.html talks about the historic flight of the Laima … It was the smallest plane to have ever crossed the Atlantic. It was the first unmanned plane of any size to have done so. It was a harbinger of the future of over-ocean meteorological research. but then gives the UAVs a bad reputation by associating them with the possibility that terrorists *might* use them.

  • “Bush Wants to Ban Spy Plane Tech” article by Noah Shachtman 2002-06-17 http://www.wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,53207,00.html?tw=wn_story_related

    The focus on high-tech terror weapons is part of a major, but largely unnoticed, switch in U.S. national security policy, Pike said, from defending against “probable” threats to defending against “describable” threats, regardless of their likelihood. …

    This outlook actually detracts from national defense, turning focus away from small, manageable, no-tech measures that could prevent terrorist attacks, Pike said.

  • http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS8416393595.html

    NASA’s Ames Research Center is building a “personal satellite assistant” … The robot is a six-inch sphere inspired by the sparring droid that Luke Skywalker fights in the movie “Star Wars”

    [FIXME: …]

  • Ultralight Aircraft and Flying Ultralight Aircraft FAQ http://home.indy.rr.com/challengerul/faq.html Microlights, Ultralights and ULMs http://aviation.about.com/msub14.htm flexwing

  • unmanned aerial vehicle center http://uavcenter.com/???

  • Mesicopter Image Gallery http://adg.stanford.edu/mesicopter/imageArchive/ very small helicopters, the size of a human thumb.

  • This inch-long helicopter made its maiden flight yesterday in Mainz, Germany … the helicopter weighs one-hundredth of an ounce … September 4, 1996 http://www.eskimo.com/~ghawk/minihelicopter.htm

  • [] History of Human Powered Ornithopter No one has never succeeded in flight of Human Powered Ornithopter http://web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/people/kazuho/historye.htm http://web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/people/kazuho/index-e.htm (But these people are seriously building what they believe to be the first ever HPO).

  • The University of Southern California Autonomous Flying Vehicle Project http://www-robotics.usc.edu/~avatar/afv_concept.html AFV: Autonomous Flying Vehicle

  • Aerial Robotics http://amoras.2y.net/robotics/aerial/ Has 4 props (all pointed straight up). I think this is the minimum number needed to be able to land reasonably gracefully when 1 prop fails. (turn off opposite prop, use 2 remaining props to land straight down). DAV: Perhaps even more props would be interesting — — then you could steer and fly reasonably normally when 1 prop fails.

  • Civilian UAVs Face Challenges http://robots.net/article/504.html What, if any, are the legal limits to flying a UAV in the US ?

  • ``smart skin” for aircraft wings http://ho.seas.ucla.edu/news_us.html

  • Robofly http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20020610/robofly.html… they’re hoping it will be airborne by 2004. When it does take flight it’ll likely be the smallest autonomous flying robot. … The little critters are expected to cost $10 a pop when they become available!

    http://robots.net/article/510.html(weighing 0.1 gram)

  • ``How Spy Flies Will Work” article by Kevin Bonsor http://www.howstuffworks.com/spy-fly2.htm talks about a couple of robots that (are expected to) fly by flapping their wings. ``Robert Michelson … Entomopter” ``micro air vehicles (MAVs)” ``unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)” ``Michael Dickinson … Micromechanical Flying Insect (MFI) Project”

  • http://www.execpc.com/~dbeck/solar.html Oklahoma State University Solar Plane “Helios” School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

    Is this the same as http://aerovironment.com/| http://www.solaraircraft.com/

  • http://www.draganfly.com/“indoor airships and helicopters you can fly.” Pretty cool.

  • the smart balloon http://www.gpsworld.com/1098/1098column.html“to provide critical protection from the elements, we are considering changing the transponder design to enable it to fit inside the balloon shell.”

  • “Historic Crossing: An Unmanned Aircraft’s Atlantic Flight” article by Tad McGeer (The Insitu Group) and Juris Vagners (University of Washington) http://www.gpsworld.com/0699/0699feat.html

    We are particularly interested in using small aircraft to improve weather forecasting. …

    … The powerplant, a highly modified model-aircraft engine with one little 20-cubic-centimeter cylinder, was really no more reliable than the Vimy’s early V-12s …

    An Aerosonde’s Anatomy. Each of these $25,000 craft weighs 29 pounds and has a 9-foot wingspan … Inside each Aerosonde’s graphite/ honeycomb shell … equipment, including a … GPS receiver, with its antenna mounted in the aircraft’s right wing. For communication with the ground, each craft carries a UHF modem with a dipole antenna mounted on the left side of the tail section.

    The Aerosonde has two onboard computers. The main computer handles various tasks, including communications, flight control, and GPS processing, while the second computer conducts meteorological calculations for temperature, pressure, humidity, and wind. Each computer uses a 16-Mhz, 32-bit microcontroller. Power is supplied by an engine-driven AC generator.

    Flight control sensors include pitch- and yaw-rate gyroscopes and transducers for dynamic (pitot) and barometric (static) pressure. Calculations are done at 5Hz and command model-aircraft servos controlling the throttle and aerodynamic surfaces — flaps, ailerons, and “ruddervators” on the tail.

    … Aerosondes cruise at about 50 knots …

    In the future, we will be able to track the craft over water using such emerging satellite-communications systems as Iridium and Orbcomm. … two-way relay …

    /* pinpoint straight-line */

  • Apparently biologists Michael Dickinson and Sanjay Sane of the University of California, Berkeley, and Fritz-Olaf Lehmann of the University of Würtzburg are developing a theory of insect flight and applying it to the development of ultraminiature flying machines, “mechanical insects”.

  • “Honey, I shrunk the plane” article by Stephen J. Mraz, editor of Machine Design magazine http://www.machinedesign.com/ 1998-10-08 “Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) … the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding research on micro air vehicles (MAVs) one-time-use aircraft that … weigh less than 4 oz., and cost less than $ 1 000. … Intelligent Automation Inc. (IAI) In Rockville, MD … Hovering aircraft need about twice the power-to-weight ratio as fixed-wing flight. … AeroVironment Inc., Simi Valley, CA … IGR Enterprises Inc. in Beachwood OH is … building an MAV fuel cell that weighs less than 30 gm and produces 20 W for about an hour. … Researchers at MIT’s Gas Turbine Lab … are … trying to shrink jet engines to the size of shirt buttons. … MEMS fabricated … Meanwhile engineers at M-Dot Inc., Phoenix, are working on an MAV turbojet roughly the size of a chicken egg. It weighs 78 gm … … Student-built MAVs … at the University of Florida’s first MAV Flyoff”

  • http://uav.engin.umich.edu/solus_page.html

  • http://www.army-technology.com/projects/dragon/index.html The Dragon unmanned aerial vehicle has been developed by Mantra BAe Dynamics for airborne jamming of enemy radio tactical communications.

  • the Predator medium altitude endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) http://www.dote.osd.mil/reports/FY95/predator.html Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flies above USS Carl Vinson http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/34995_951205-N-3149J-003.html

  • Seamos is the vertical take-off (VTOL) sea reconnaissance and location drone being developed by Dornier GmbH. Seamos is planned to enter service in 2005. http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/seamos/index.html

  • CAMCOPTER™ Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System http://www.schiebel.com/industries/camcopter.htm

  • “micro” air vehicles (µAV) http://avdil.gtri.gatech.edu/RCM/RCM/Entomopter/EntomopterProject.html

  • autonomous glidersonde http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/projects/glidersonde/Development.html to collect high-altitude meteorological (weather) data

  • Aerocam http://www.pcug.org.au/~mgriffin/aerocam.htm is an airborne video system developed to transmit live video pictures from a model aircraft to the ground.

  • Solar Solitude http://www.execpc.com/~dbeck/solar.html a completely solar-powered aircraft

  • A Solar Plane Project by Mike Garton http://www.cnde.iastate.edu/staff/mgarton/solarplane.html using flexible solar cells — less power/area than single-crystal silicon sells, but also less mass/area. (DAV: how does the power/mass ratio compare ?)

  • R/C Flying - Lessons Learned http://rampages.onramp.net/~petah/Lessons.htm

  • http://ck4111tz1h0.open.ac.uk/

  • The Mechanical Toys Page http://www.nfra.nl/~mgoris/mechtoys/

  • Flapping wings! Introduction to ornithopters http://home.earthlink.net/~pazuzu/orn.html

  • Human Powered Ornithopter http://web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/people/kazuho/index-e.htm

  • NASA Pathfinder http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/gallery/photo/Pathfinder/ a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing. http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Projects/erast/Projects/Pathfinder/pathfinder.html

  • Search AltaVista for “orthinopter” http://www.altavista.digital.com/cgi-bin/query?pg=q&text=yes&kl=XX&q=ornithopter&act=search

  • from “Micro Planes” article by Jerome Greer Chandler in Popular Science 1998 Jan MAVs (Micro Air Vehicles) “no larger than 6 inches across” “aerospace entrepreneur Steve Morris … president of Palo Alto-based MLB Co.” “David A. Jenkins, an associate engineer at the University of Florida’s department of aerospace engineering” “Jenkins and two other scientists at the University of Florida, Wei Shyy and Richard W. Smith, are working on an adaptive airfoil” “Robert J. Englar, principal research engineer of the Aerospace & Transportation Laboratory at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. … Englar thinks circulation control will work even better on MAVs. “If you do this correctly,” he says, “you can essentially eliminate the normal exhaust pipes and put all the jet’s air out through the wings.” The airfoil becomes more than merely a lifting surface. It becomes a propulsion device.” “Robert C. Michelson, manager for battlefield robotics and unmanned vehicles at Georgia Tech Research Institute. He is working on a radically new kind of MAV, a reciprocating chemical muscle multimode Entomopter. The 4-inch long vehicle looks more like a mayfly than an aircraft. … The Entomopter’s flapping wings and scurrying legs … are powered by … a reciprocating chemical muscle, or RCM. … before the RCM can actually take flight, it must first be scaled down to bug size.” ” “The biggest challenge we need to overcome is propulsion,” says William R. Davis of MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. One of the fathers of MAV research, Davis says the problem lies in devising a propulsion system that can provide enough power without adding too much weight.” “The California-based company AeroVironment … Its products include … the Pathfinder aircraft — which uses solar power for high-altitude, long-endurance flight. Still, AeroVironment’s cutting-edge MAVs are able to stay aloft for a maximum of about 16 minutes at a time. The company wants its MAVs to be able to fly for up to an hour, not necessarily round-trip. … Matthew T. Keennon, a senior electromechanical engineer who heads AeroVironment’s MAV research. …” “Morris’ 18-inch-wingspan Bat burns standard model-aircraft fuel — a mixture of alcohol, oils, and nitro-methane. … Somewhere between the prosaic internal combustion engine and the exotic chemical muscle lies another potential propulsion system for MAVs: a hydrogen-powered jet turbine. Alan Epstein, director of MIT’s Gas Turbine Laboratory, is working on a silicon carbide engine that is only 0.4 inches in diameter and 0.12 inches thick, yet produces 10 to 20 watts of power. Epstein’s team has already built a microscale combustor that works, but the engine’s compressor, generator, and bearings still must come down in size. The researchers hope to have a complete micro engine running within 3 years.” “Miniature cameras could act both as navigational aids and sensors. At MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, a team led by William R. Davis is developing a camera that would weigh less than a tenth of an ounce. … 1,000 by 1,000 pixels …” “Morris won the University of Florida’s first Micro-Aerial Vehicle Flyoff last spring”

  • lots of links to Radio Control Model websites http://www.uoguelph.ca/~antoon/websites/rc2.htm ornithopters !

  • LASER propulsion http://hightech.cplaza.or.jp/1998/19980126/19980130/02/emain.htm has photographs of a Lightcraft prototype that, in tests, reached the altitude of 51 feet.

  • Georgia Tech Aerial Robotics Team http://www.cad.gatech.edu/~gtar/ Autonomous “self-flying” robotic helicopter. Has good schematics and everything ! “The mission of the Georgia Tech Aerial Robotics team is to build a search and retrieve, fully autonomous aerial vehicle for the International Aerial Robotics Competition http://avdil.gtri.gatech.edu/AUVS/IARCLaunchPoint.html.”

  • ``European Conference Focuses On UAV Technologies” Jun 13, 2002 http://www.spacedaily.com/news/uav-02o.html

  • ``US Seeks To Block Spread Of Unpiloted Aircraft Technologies” article by Charles Hoskinson June 11, 2002 http://www.spacedaily.com/news/uav-02n.html points to several other articles [FIXME: read]

  • world’s smallest solar-powered airplane built by Dr. Sieghard Dienlin http://home.rhein-zeitung.de/~sieghard.dienlin/(I think the solar cells are directly connected to the motor — not RC, not really intelligent either)

  • robot butterfly http://www.leopard.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/| http://www.leopard.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/index-j.html[many cool robots are displayed on the root page, but none of the links to more detail seem to work] /* was http://scorpio.leopard.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/kameya/soturon-e.html http://www.leopard.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/95/kameya/robomec/paper-e.html http://www.leopard.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/95/kameya/rsj/paper-e.html */

I think it’s kinda cool that NASA links to my list of flying robots http://w2.nasatech.com/WWWboard/messages/761.html.

swimming robots

see also 3d_design.html#submarine

  • ``Navy accelerates robot submarine plans” article 2002-03-17 ``miniature autonomous underwater vehicles” robot submarines mentions Chuck Pell and Gordon Caudle at Nekton Research http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/03/17/robot.submarines.ap/index.html``Mine-hunting underwater drones are expected to begin operating from a submarine by December 2004. ” `` The Central Intelligence Agency caused a stir in military circles when it used armed Predators to launch deadly airstrikes in Afghanistan last fall, the first drone-authored strikes in U.S. combat history. ”

  • http://dmoz.org/Recreation/Models/Boats_and_Ships/RC/Power/ radio control boats

  • http://dmoz.org/Recreation/Boating/Boatbuilding/ building boats and submarines

  • ``SCIENTISTS CREATE ROBO-FISH CYBORG USING A LAMPREY’S BRAIN … NO, REALLY” article By Tom Henderson http://www.smalltimes.com/document_display.cfm?document_id=1489``Dr. Ferdinando Mussa-Ivaldi and his fellow researchers at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Genoa in Italy use the brain stem and part of the spinal cord of a lamprey to control a wheeled robot. … All that remains of the fish in the lab is a thin slice of neural matter a little more than a centimeter long, kept alive in a solution rich in sodium, potassium, magnesium and glucose. … researcher, Karen Fleming … This is high tech done on the cheap. … The robot is stabilized by several pieces of fishing line attached to it from above, strung through pulleys made of Legos that are attached to what looks like pieces of an Erector Set. Dangling from the lines are washers, nuts and bolts added for extra weight and tension. … Animal-machine cyborgs are becoming reality at research institutions around the world … ” [people that scare me ? prosthetics ?]

  • How to Build a Submarine … for under $400.00 http://www.submarine.freehosting.net/(apparently radio controlled ?)

  • http://www.ferroboats.com/

    `` a boat building method using steel wires covered with a sand and cement plaster, patented in 1855 by the French… Ferciment boats built before 1855 are still in existence and at least one is still afloat. … Ferro-cement, often referred to as “concrete”. It is the cheapest and easiest form of construction for boats over 25 ft. And apart from strip-plank composite construction, it is the only viable material for large round-bilge boats within the amateur capability, without the requirements of special tools or a weather-proof building. ”

electric motors and motor control electronics [PID]

See also servo. Servo motors have built-in electronics that make them simpler/easier/cheaper to use than trying to interface directly to a motor.

PID algorithms, PID tuning techniques, and related things.

[FIXME: move to massmind ?]

H bridge circuits and H bridge chips [FIXME: more on schematic.html ?]

Dave Dilatush \<dilatush at HOME.COM> on 2001-04-25 04:47:17 PM Please respond to pic microcontroller discussion list \<PICLIST at MITVMA.MIT.EDU> To: PICLIST at MITVMA.MIT.EDU cc: (bcc: David Cary/TULSA/BRUNSWICKOUTDOOR) Subject: Re: [EE]: RMS vs Average voltage? … OK, well for what it’s worth, here are my PID bookmarks:

servo motor information

servo motor information

see also oscillator schematics schematic.html#oscillator

servo motor protocol: It’s a digital 5V protocol. 2 ms lo is full forward. 1.5 ms lo is neutral. 1 ms lo is full reverse. The rest of the period it is high. Servos and speed controllers should not care exactly how long the period is. Typical R/C receivers send a new pulse every 16 ms; 20 ms seems almost as common. There is a 3 pin plug, carrying GND, +5V, and the data line (which switches between GND and +5V). Unfortunately, the plug is not standardized. Plugs should be keyed so that they only plug in the right way.

Subject: Re: [Q] How to convert analog to PWM for servos? From: Byron A Jeff \<byron at cc.gatech.edu> Date: 13 Jan 1996 03:51:17 GMT

In article \30F6E1BB.2E63@ucsd.edu\, Nathan Parker wrote:

Does anyone know of a simple circuit to convert a 0 -> 5v analog signal to the 1 -> 2ms pulse width modulation required (one pulse every 20ms or so) for RC servos? I’m interested in connecting something like a pot-joystick to a couple of these servos.

A PIC 16C71 microcontroller from Microchip would probably do a very good job. It’s an 18 pin part with EPROM, 36 bytes of RAM, and 4 channel A/D converter along with a 8 bit timer with pre-scaler.

So it could do the job all by itself.

It’s serially programmable and there are several inexpensive programmers available. You can check out Microchip’s web page at


Hope this helps,


Another random extraction from the mental bit stream of… Byron A. Jeff - PhD student operating in parallel - And Using Linux! Georgia Tech, Atlanta GA 30332

Subject: Re: [Q] How to convert analog to PWM for servos? From: Robert Hazen rhazen at eskimo.com Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 22:48:31 GMT

Nathan Parker (ngparker at ucsd.edu) wrote: : Does anyone know of a simple circuit to convert a 0 -> 5v : analog signal to the 1 -> 2ms pulse width modulation required : (one pulse every 20ms or so) for RC servos? I’m interested : in connecting something like a pot-joystick to a couple of : these servos.

Run the analog signal into on input of a comparitor and connect a triangle generator to the other input. You can probably get by with a free-running oscillator connected to a simple RC to give an approximation of a crude approximation of a triangle. (It’ll be exponential, but that ought to be ok.) Bear in mind, depending on the values you pick, you can run the circuit lock-to-lock, that is always high or always low. You’ll need to select values and perhaps divide down the 5V so you output always stays in the duty cycle you want.

Subject: Re: [Q] How to convert analog to PWM for servos? From: CC015012 at brownvm.brown.edu (john 015) Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 11:52:46 EST

In article \30F6E1BB.2E63@ucsd.edu\, Nathan Parker said:

Does anyone know of a simple circuit to convert a 0 -> 5v analog signal to the 1 -> 2ms pulse width modulation required (one pulse every 20ms or so) for RC servos? I’m interested in connecting something like a pot-joystick to a couple of these servos.

Generate a triangle wave (555, CMOS Schmitt, op-amp [using positive feedback]) with the right freqency. Compare this voltage with a variable voltage and voila.


Subject: [Q] How to convert analog to PWM for servos? From: Nathan Parker Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 14:33:31 -0800

Does anyone know of a simple circuit to convert a 0 -> 5v analog signal to the 1 -> 2ms pulse width modulation required (one pulse every 20ms or so) for RC servos? I’m interested in connecting something like a pot-joystick to a couple of these servos.

— Nathan Parker

Subject: Re: [Q] How to convert analog to PWM for servos? From: Kipp Bradford kib at vegas.cs.brown.edu Date: 13 Jan 1996 22:47:42 GMT

I think that the easiest way is to use a 556 timer (two 555 timers). The first timer is set up to generate your pulse train at a given frequency. (something like 50 Hz for servos) The second 555 is a one shot triggered by the first. The width of the one-shot depends on the analog input voltage

The whole circuit will cost less than $1.00…


Does anyone know of a simple circuit to convert a 0 -> 5v analog signal to the 1 -> 2ms pulse width modulation required (one pulse every 20ms or so) for RC servos? I’m interested in connecting something like a pot-joystick to a couple of these servos.

Generate a triangle wave (555, CMOS Schmitt, op-amp [using positive feedback]) with the right freqency. Compare this voltage with a variable voltage and voila.



linear motors

Medo http://www.medousa.com/ seems to have a linear motor in their air pumps (only 1 moving part ?)

Bayside Motion Group http://www.bmgnet.com/BMGHome.nsf sells linear motors.

Anorad http://www.anorad.industry.net/ sells linear motors

Northern Magnetics, Inc. http://www.normag.com/ manufactures linear motors (some used for VLSI silicon wafer handling)

Anorad Corporation http://www.industry.net/c/mn/03tvt linear motors ???

fuzzy logic

[FIXME: gather other fuzzy logic links here.] [Perhaps merge with PID, since many applications can use either PID or fuzzy logic, and the process of “tuning” is somewhate similar between them]

resistor color codes and standard values

1% resistor color codes

Newsgroups: sci.electronics From: Dan Carson \<dbc at tc.fluke.COM> Subject: Re: The number 47 Organization: Fluke Corporation, Everett, WA Date: Tue, 21 Mar 1995 03:27:20 GMT Lines: 63

If you don’t have something like this taped to the wall, you should:

+— .1% —+ +— .1% —+ 1% 1% 10% 5%

100 101 316 320 10 11 102 104 324 328 12 13 105 106 332 336 15 16 107 109 340 344 18 20 110 111 348 352 22 24 113 114 357 361 27 30 115 117 365 370 33 36 118 120 374 379 39 43 121 123 383 388 47 51 124 126 392 397 56 62 127 129 402 407 68 75 130 132 412 417 82 91 133 135 422 427 137 138 432 437 140 142 442 448 143 145 453 459 147 149 464 470 150 152 475 481 154 156 487 493 158 160 499 505 162 164 511 517 165 167 523 530 169 172 536 542 174 176 549 556 178 180 562 569 182 184 576 583 187 189 590 597 191 193 604 612 196 198 619 626 200 203 634 642 205 208 649 657 210 213 665 673 215 218 681 690 221 223 698 706 226 229 715 723 232 234 732 741 237 240 750 759 243 246 768 777 249 252 787 796 255 258 806 816 261 264 825 835 267 271 845 856 274 277 866 876 280 284 887 898 287 291 909 920 294 298 931 942 301 305 953 965 309 312 976 988

— Dan Carson Senior Staff Chief Principal Analog Design King (I didn’t get the raise, but I got the promotion!) dbc at tc.fluke.COM Fluke Corporation Everett, WA

-2 silver -1 gold 0 black 1 brown 2 red 3 orange 4 yellow 5 green 6 blue 7 violet 8 gray 9 white

Bad Beer Rots Our Young Guts, But Vodka Goes Well Bright Boys Rave Over Young Girls But Veto Getting Wed Bad Boys Rape OUR Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly For Gold And Silver.

From: Michael Covington \<mcovingt at ai.uga.edu> Newsgroups: sci.electronics Subject: Re: Resistor Color Code Mnemonics Date: 21 Jul 1995 09:16:38 GMT Organization: University of Georgia, Athens Lines: 20 X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]

Most of the colors are in the same order as in the spectrum.

black \ brown - color of increasing temperature red / \ orange \ yellow \ green | Spectrum, in conventional ROYGBV order blue / violet / gray — Almost white (which it’s next to) white — Opposite of the other end, which was black

So even without funny phrases, the colors are in a memorable sequence.

— Michael A. Covington http://www.ai.uga.edu/faculty/covington/ Artificial Intelligence Center
The University of Georgia Unless specifically indicated, I am Athens, GA 30602-7415 U.S.A. not speaking for the University.

tools for building robots

  • Capacitance Meter
  • o’scopes
  • “Hot air strippers have so many uses in the workshop:- heatshrink, making/freeing interference fits, testing heat sensitivity of components,making coiled cable,desoldering screening cans,lighting barbecues etc.” — Author: Nigel Cook \<diverse at tcp.co.uk> Date: 1996/03/01
  • If you want to do bulk removal of entire circuit boards I have heard of a clever guy in Austin, TX that uses a pizza oven to heat a whole board at once. He then quickly “slams” the PCB upside down to drop the chips off the board. Author: Lee Morris \<lmorris at txdirect.net> Date: 1996/01/07
  • http://www.atcweb.com/ sells a $375 device (including probe) that plugs into the parallel port of a PC and turns it into a o’scope.
  • Velleman Electronic Kits http://www.velleman.be/kits/k7103.htm sells a $400 kit (assembly required) that plugs into the parallel port of a PC and turns it into a o’scope.
  • http://www.rdrop.com/~cary/html/ seems to have a lot of nice “super-multimeters” — — including portable Ethernet and FDDI diagnostic tools.
  • Metcal, Inc. http://www.metcal.com/| http://www.metcal.com/rrx/tech.html sells some very high-end soldering/rework stations, and has lots of useful related information online “Hand Soldering Tips & Tricks”
  • PC Instruments Inc. http://www.pcinstruments.com/ sells a
    $1 795 PCI-443 (PCI card and software to turn a PC into a Digital Oscilloscope) 12 bit resolution, 50 Msamples/s, 20 MHz bandwidth. (Data Acquisition)
  • Signatec Inc. http://www.signatec.com/ claims to sell the world’s fastest 12 bit data acquisition board (turn a PC into a Digital Oscilloscope):
    $5 900 PDA12A 125 Msamples/s, dc to 50 MHz bandwidth; includes 512 Ksample RAM. (option of up to 2 Msample RAM)
  • Cat.#: 910-3914 http://www.radioshack.com/ sells a $ 400 optically isolated device to plug into your serial port and turn your PC into a digital o’scope. “a sampling frequency of up to 32MHz”.
  • Vernier Software http://www.vernier.com/ sells
    $ 310 MultiPurpose Lab Interface (MPLI). http://www.vernier.com/mbl/mpli.html It turns your computer into a three trace oscilloscope. The ISA-bus card along with the connection box supports three analog inputs. “The maximum data-collection rate is 75,000+ per second.”
  • http://www.linkinstruments.com/ sells
    $ 600 Parallel Port Digital Storage Oscilloscope 100 Msamples/s, 32K deep data buffers.
    as well as other PC-based test instruments: Digital Storage Oscilloscopes, Spectrum Analyzers, Logic Analyzers, Pattern Generators.
  • http://web-tronics.com/webtronics/data-acquisition---control.html seems to have a lot of low-cost ISA and PCI cards for turning a PC into a digital oscilloscope.
  • Digital Oscilloscope Uses PC Sound Card for Input http://polly.phys.msu.su/~zeld/oscill.html


some sensors that might be interesting to put on a robot.

  • “world’s smallest position sensor” according to their ads. http://www.kamansensors.com/kaman| mirror ??? http://www.kamaninstrumentation.com/``sub-nanometer resolution position sensors”
  • $ 0.45 ``in volume” ITT Industries, Cannon Switch Producs, … manufactures a surface-mount miniature joystick … 8mm x 8mm x 5 mm … ``up, down, left, right directions … close individual single-pole contacts; diagonal actuation closes 2 contacts at a time … fifth contact … push-to-select … http://www.ckcorp.com/

fuel cells

battery info

battery info batteries

It seems like lots of people spend a lot of time analyzing batteries. If we could share this information, it would save a lot of time.

some surface-mount components

[FIXME: categorize things by *function*, not package; move all these to the appropriate category: #sensors , switching_power.html , etc. ]

solar cells

misc unsorted robot projects

[FIXME: move items into category above, or delete irrelevant items]


REXIS (Real-time EXecutive for Intelligent Systems) is a small multi-tasking preemtive real-time executive … distributed as shareware … requirements: an ANSI C HC11 cross compiler and a HC11 target with at least 24K of RAM … for more info, contact Richard Man P.O.Box 6 North Chelmsford, MA 01863


History of electric scooters: https://www.carcovers.com/resources/a-history-of-electric-scooters/

All Electronics Corporation http://www.allcorp.com/ Lots of low-cost surplus electronics components

Circuit Specialists Inc. http://www.cir.com/ “DMM … measures … DCV … DCA… ACV … Resistance … $19.00 any quantity” lots of low-cost surplus electronics components; CCD camera; free catalog 1.800.811.5203 ext. 5

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. http://www.wiley.com/ Book publisher; lots of electronics and computer-related books.

Electronics Now magazine Popular Electronics magazine

Poptronix online electronics magazine http://www.poptronix.com/ (“will feature complete text and artwork of selected articles from both Electronics Now and Popular Electronics“)

More interesting chips

Linear Technology Corporation http://www.linear.com/http://www.linear-tech.com/… sells ADCs and other chips. In 1998, LTC claimed that “The LTC1604 is the fastest monolithic 16-bit sampling ADC in the industry … 3 us total conversion time … 333 Ksps … 5 MHz full power bandwidth … $23.50 each in 1000-piece quantities”

nice D/As and A/Ds Burr Brown http://www.burr-brown.com/$8.15 (in 1 000s) ADS1213 (EDN 1997-09-01 p. 25) delta-sigma 4 analog differential inputs multiplexed ADC; SPI compatible synchronous serial interface; 2-wire mode; effective resolution of 16 bits at 1 KHz sample rate; effective resolution of 22 bits at 10 Hz sample rate.

$??? OPA594 (8 A continuous, 10 A Peak, 60 V supply) thermally protected, “a logic output signal on the shutdown pin tells you if thermal shutdown has occurred” unfortunately no price

$3.98 (in 1 000 s) ADS7844 (ADC, 12 bit, up to 200 KSamples/s, 8 channel single-ended or 4 channel differential input, … uses 3 mW from a a single 2.7 V to 5 V supply) serial interface … http://www.burr-brown.com/

$6.95 (in 1 000 s) PCM3002 and PCM3003 (20 bit stereo audio codecs) Burr-Brown http://www.burr-brown.com/(1998-05)

$3.60 (in 1 000 s) DRV102 (high-side PWM driver) $3.60 (in 1 000 s) DRV101 (low-side PWM driver) load current: 2 A, supply voltages: 9 to 60 V, internal 24 KHz oscillator, adjustable (with external cap) initial full-on start-up time; adjustable (with external resistor or voltage controlled) PWM duty cycle. Digital error flag signals when load current is too high, too low, or thermal shutdown has occured. Surface-mount and TO-220 versions. Burr Brown http://www.burr-brown.com/(price in 1998-12-01 Electronic Design)

$6.22 (in 1 000 s) TLC5618 (EE Times (http://www.eet.com) 1997 Nov 10 p. 69) programmable, dual, serial input voltage-output 12-bit DAC, in 8-pin SOIC package (*CS, SCLK, Din, Vcc, Refin, GND, OutputA, OutputB). 1.21 MHz update rate (at 20 MHz clock). http://www.ti.com/sc/5048 ; programmable settling times of 2.5 us (8mW) and 12.5 us (3mW) and power-down mode (1 uA); 5 V single-supply operation.

$9.95 TMS320C32 40MHz floating point DSP TI Texas Instruments http://www.ti.com/sc/docs/dsps/dsphome.htm(price on web site 1998-08-13)

$?? TMS320C24x has interesting features useful for robots: On-chip A/D Conversion, On-chip Control Area Networking (CAN) Module, High resolution PWM TI Texas Instruments http://www.ti.com/sc/docs/dsps/dcs/c24xblk.htm


(from article “Robots take over the world” by Dr. Steve O’Neil \<steveo at micromo.com> of Micro Mo Electronics, Inc. in designfax 1997 March p. 65 )

National Semiconductor http://www.national.com/design/


  • Gell Cell
  • LEDs
  • Touch Tone Encoder IC
  • Touch Tone Decoder IC
  • chip clip “glomper”
  • 8 pin Mini DIN (Mac Serial)
  • Solid State Relay (240 VAC)

Gordy Keene, “fischertechnik price watch”

Electronics Information Online http://www.eio.com/ — Surplus electronics

HSC Electronic Supply http://www.halted.com/ “the techno-tinkerer’s premier high-tech shopping place” has a “Gizmo of the week” new and surplus

W.M.Berg, Inc. http://www.wmberg.com gears, gear boxes, fasteners, etc.

Maxon Precision Motors http://www.maxonmotor.com/

MicroMo Electronics tiny motors. http://www.micromo.com Performance Motion Devices motion control ICs http://www.pmdcorp.com Infranor, Inc. servomotors http://infranor.com HD Systems how do their “harmonic drive” gearheads work ? http://www.hdsystemsinc.com

http://www.emags.com/epr/electron/issue2/weblnk.htm lots of electronics and robotic links

From: Mike Halloran, 71601,546 To: Adam Fritzler, 73053,3213 Topic: PWM Msg #24648 Section: Computer Hardware [8] Forum: Eng. Automation Date: Tue, 1994 May 31, 22:17:02

You can run stepper motor drivers directly from the PC parallel port with pretty simple code, provided that the PC doesn’t have to do much else at the same time. In assembler, the core code is just a few lines, to increment and clip an index, use the index to look up a four bit pattern from a 4 position table, and write the pattern to the port. That code would run as an isr, pointed at by a timer interrupt. The isr changes the timer argument to ramp the motor, and vectors to a null return to stop it.

Using a PWM bitstream and a S/P converter seems too bizarre for me. You can buy slightly intelligent stepper controllers that need only step clocks and direction inputs. You can buy somewhat more intelligent stepper controllers that can ramp the motor up and down and read sensors to stop it. One such, the CY525 from Cybernetic Micro Systems, can be paired with their CY232 interface chip to accept high level step commands in ASCII over the serial port.

Okay, you could use the same timer isr and lookup table as above to periodically write data out to the serial port, and then hang a s/p converter (not a shift register) on the other end of the cable. I’d be more inclined to put a cheap microcontroller, like a PIC, out there near the motor to provide some local intelligence, and timing unaffected by the PC’s interrupts.

-Mike- [12:39a Wed 01-JUN-1994] from Miami, FL using Tapcis & Recon.

Techno-Sommer Automatic http://www.techno-sommer.com/ pneumatic components for pick-and-place and other robots.

“Borrowing a cue from the aerospace industry, the manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks and related equipment are switching to data bus systems to transmit information from sensors … to the gauge cluster … The J1708/J1587 protocols set down by the Society of Automotive Engineers … … Wiring is via simple RS-485 twisted pair lines and Packard quick connects. …

BIOMIMETIC ROBOTICS ftp://neurobotics.bu.edu/pub/biomimetic

FARO Technologies http://www.faro.com/ FaroArm(r) articulated measuring arm.

Velmex http://www.velmex.com/ X-Y Tables

>Go to http://www.lewistown.net/, the select ‘Trailhead Project’ and then on

the right column, ‘Crick Data’ and you will get the sensor readings last taken (later they will set up automatic every hour readings) whereever you are in the world. …

So 100% of every word spoken in the 20 session hours of the 2 days, was taped, and will be converted by Dragon Speaking Naturally software into ASCII text, all of which will be, when done, put on our wireless.oldcolo.com and the emerging wireless web site at GWU.

PacTec http://www.pactecenclosures.com/ plastic enclosures

Ocean Optics http://www.OceanOptics.com/ has a nifty handheld “Fiber Optic Spectrometer”. (I hear that Neumatics has a even smaller spectrometer).

Causal Systems http://www.causal.on.net/ “Active Noise and Vibration Control”

LPKF CAD CAM Systems Inc. http://www.lpkfcadcam.com/ Beaverton, OR. $9990 desktop router-like “system” that produces pc boards.

T-Tech, Inc. http://www.t-tech.com/ desktop router-like “system” that produces pc boards.

B&K Precision http://www.bkprecision.com/ $179 handheld digital-display LCR multimeter

??? http://www.vcc.com/

Tierra http://alife.santafe.edu/alife/software/tierra.html artificial life simulator (ALife) http://www.hip.atr.co.jp/~ray/tierra/tierra.html Artifical Life online at the Santa Fe Institute http://alife.santafe.edu/

“There really isn’t much more to contemporary electronics besides computers and communications.” — Barrie Gilbert , 1998-06-22 DAV: meta-level: electrical engineering is in 2 parts (?): small-signal electrical stuff (electronics), vs. high-power and/or high-current electrical stuff (motor/generators and high-power transmission lines)

Peter H. Anderson (KZ3K), Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering Morgan State University (MD) http://www.phanderson.com//* was http://www.access.digex.net/~pha/*/ lots of good info on controlling things (“Embedded Processor Control”), includes “Use of a PC Parallel Printer Port for Control and Data Acquisition”, The Parallax “Stamps in Class Program”, “Interfacing with 1, 2, 3 and 4 Wire Serial Devices”, “68HC11 Assembly Language Programming”, “Microchip PIC”, 1200 Baud half duplex Infrared communication with a PIC at distances of two meters (38.4 kHz carrier) (much simpler than IrDA or TV remote controls), “C Programming” ( focused on TurboC, although the ftime(), complex and matrix algebra routines look pretty portable ), “Interfacing with Optrex LCD Panels” http://www.phanderson.com/printer/lcd/lcd.html, “Serial “SONAR” Timers for PC and BASIC Stamp”, “Engineering Ethics”

Dallas Semiconductor http://www.dalsemi.com/ has lots of interesting chips — — $6.70 each (in 1 000s) DS4201 stereo 16-bit audio DAC includes a USB transciever.

Xicor Inc. http://www.xicor.com/ sells some interesting devices, including the
$2.45 X9410 dual EEPOT: each pot consists of an array of 63 resistors in series; by sending a serial command, the wiper pin can be switched to any one of the 64 resistor taps.

Isotek Corporation http://www.isotekcorp.com/ sells precision current-sensing resistors.

Geotest http://www.geotestinc.com/ claims to sell the world’s fastest Digital I/O board:
$?? GT25-DIO 50 MHz, 32 digital I/O pins, 16 Kbit to 1 Mbit memory behind each pin. (appears to be a 16-bit ISA card)

DGH Corporation http://www.dghcorp.com/ “A computer at every sensor” sells cute little analog-input boxes that mount right on the sensor, that have RS-232 or RS-485 serial communications port digital output “in engineering units”. (some versions have analog output or digital I/O).

L. J. Kamm http://www.ljkamm.com/ADNC1 wrote Designing Cost Efficient Mechanisms 1990 “No charge to students; I like to help.”

http://www.osa.com.au/~cjh/electronics/ some interesting (unfinished) robotics projects. “64 channel piezo to MIDI board based on the 68HC11 ”

Marlin P. Jones & Assoc. Inc. http://www.mpja.com/ Industrial, Commercial and Educational Electronics
Lots of nifty surplus (low-cost!) stuff useful for robotics.

PC Gadgets http://www.pcgadgets.com/(Almonte, Ontario, Canada) “Our number one priority has always been to have fun and we strive to make sure that our customers are as happy with our products as we are developing them. ”


  • Project Mentifex http://www.scn.org/~mentifex/“Artificial Intelligence : Artificial minds for evolving mobile robots”. See also The Art of Computer Mindmaking http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/7256/acm.html which goes into much more detail. “the fate of the world hinges on your work.”
  • Artificial Intelligence Artificial minds for evolving mobile robots “the public-domain AI project aims to BYPASS evolution by releasing the idea-germ — the meme — of a top- down AI design into the defenseless minds of myriad unwitting Usenet readers who might else have preferred to live happy, bourgeois lives but who after inspiration/infection will rest no more until they see…” Many interesting concepts.
  • http://www.newciv.org/Mentifex/ run periodic Mentifex Web search. http://www.complex.com.pl/~venom/science.html diaspora memetica. Meme amok: Delete this line. Insert your URL. Propagate virus.

Chris Hillman: Animatronics, Robotics, & SPFX http://members.aol.com/robotweb/ good sense of humor; lots of links to robotwars competitions (radio control and autonomous). /* was http://members.aol.com/C40179/HOME.html*/

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) http://www.usfirst.org/ sponsors robotics competitions


ROBOT Science & Technology Magazine’s Online Supplement for Educators, Students, Hobbyists & Enthusiasts http://www.robotmag.com/

Other pages full of cool robot links:

http://www.kristech.com/ appears to have moved to http://www.robotmag.com/.

Tower Hobbies http://www.towerhobbies.com/ has the lowest price on Electronic Speed Controls (ESC) and R/C servo motors that I’ve found. (distributor) Has some good information under “R/C Web Directory rcweb”.

Hobby Shack, Inc. http://www.hobbyshack.com/ lots of R/C stuff. (distributor)

Is it true that Graymark is now http://www.labvolt.com/ ? What happened to all their cool toy robots ?

http://www.ezio.com/> Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 09:06:48 -0400 (EDT) > From: Erika Look at www.ezio.com — the thing is easy to use and you can program it with MAX or Director or directly through the serial port of a Mac or PC.. ******_****** Erika Sherman, Manager — Web Support, UM School of Social Work Budget & Web Director, WCBN 88.3 FM Radio Free Ann Arbor Send unsubscribe requests to: majordomo@excelsior.org Archive located at: http://www.excelsior.org/transhuman_tech_list/

Harris Semiconductor http://www.semi.harris.com/

International Rectifier switching_power.html#irf Lots of components and tips for robust automotive electronics — — just the sorts of things I need in a robot. ( 900 V transistors ! wow !)

$?? Si4720CY appears to be a dual high-side nFET with integrated high-side driver … with the high-side drive signal also outside. Temic Semiconductor

MOSFET transistors … $0.59 FDR4410 (SuperSOT-8) Rds(on)=13 mOhm; thermal resistance=20 C/W from Fairchild Semiconductor http://www.fairchildsemi.com/offer/dpst/4410http://www.semi.harris.com/ultrafet/

Maxim Integrated Products http://www.maxim-ic.com/ linear and mixed-signal integrated circuits. (Beaverton, Oregon)

http://www.zagi.com/$ 45.00 + 7.00 Shipping. Zagi-THL Thermal / Handlaunch glider. 48 inch Wing Span, ~ 11 ounces, including receiver and servos.


http://www.robotic.com/“we sell NO products or services, we only provide robot news :-)”

the Australian Computer Society (ACS) Robotics Special Interest Group (SIG) of Queensland, Australia. http://www-sqi.cit.gu.edu.au/~tracy/acs_sig/

FerretTronics http://www.busprod.com/ferrettronics/ has a “Step by Step Guide for Building a Robot” in excruciating detail. Controlled by a serial port; instructions for connecting the robot’s serial port to the serial port on a HP calculator (!), a Mac, or a PC.

Helical Products Company, Inc. http://www.heli-cal.com/ has a clever family of parts, all machined out of a single piece of material (many different metals, Delrin plastic, etc.) (very rugged) (no lubrication necessary), that do the job that would otherwise require several parts, rotating joints, lubrication, etc. Clever implementation of “do more with less”. Their web pages also have a really cool “Solved Application Stories” http://www.heli-cal.com/HTML/FlxFacts/flexdirectory.htm.

“It is natural when an application has been solved in the field to go to the original manufacturer to offer our solution, however, they were not interested.”

http://www.heli-cal.com/HTML/FlxFacts/FFacts44.htm sounds like a a “not invented here” syndrome story worthy of Scott Adams.

Roland PC Tool Box http://www.pctoolbox.com/“Desktop digitized scanning and modeling”. Very close to Don Lancaster’s “Santa Claus Box”.

Geofox-One, http://www.geofox.com/dnplanet.php a handheld personal digital assistant.

Jensen Tools http://www.jensentools.com/ soldering irons, lots of nifty tools.

http://www.jdr.com/ JDR Microdevices computer peripherals, some simple robot kits, etc.

Craig Maynard http://members.home.net/cybug/ includes Dr. Whyrd E. Bitbuckets School of Mad Robot Design. and sells several interesting kits (including the “cybug” solar-powered robot) Tarun Tuli http://cantronics.rzsoft.com/cybug.htm also sells “cybug” kits


“Floppy” the Robot http://www.ohmslaw.com/robot.htm“Build your own Robot for almost Free…” [FIXME:]

The Art of Motion Control http://www.iaxs.net/~bshapiro/ An artist builds a CNC machine, creates art with it.

“the mechanical gal” http://www.engsoc.carleton.ca/~tash/fourth.html

Comp.Robotics http://www.dejanews.com/[ST_chan=cpu]/bg.xp?level=comp.robotics newsgroups

The Center for Automation and Intelligent Systems Research at Case Western Reserve http://dora.eeap.cwru.edu/(the CAISR lab at CWRU) Bio-Robotics Lab http://biorobots.cwru.edu/(Biologically Inspired Robotics Laboratory) at Case Western Reserve University

http://telerobotics.jpl.nasa.gov/people/welch/other-robotics.html Link page to lots of other robots

ROBOT WARS http://www.robotwars.com/

Link page to lots of other robots http://www.yahoo.com/Science/Engineering/Mechanical_Engineering/Robotics/

Gabriel and Stephanie Nelson http://biorobots.cwru.edu/personnel/gmn/ studying biologically-inspired robotics. A Christian Linux-user.

Wizard.Org http://www.wizard.org/ purpose: to share information, products, ideas, etc. about Robotics, Machine Intelligence (AI), Electronics and Micro-Controllers to anyone who’s interested. Includes “Useful Robot Schematics” !

Matt Arnold http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Vault/2618/ has built some really nice walking robots.

Shadow Robot Group http://www.shadow.org.uk/

Electronic and Robotics http://members.aol.com/fuboco


The “Java Ring” http://www.ibutton.com/ (for wearing on your finger) that runs the Java Card 2.0 specification. Very rugged package “You can drop it, step on it, scratch it, or wear it swimming.”

Bokam Engineering Inc. http://www.bokam.com/ sells a interesting joystick-like force sensor. “3-axis force measurement”

interesting little “support IC”: ZPSD6xx “MCU peripheral chip” 16 MHz, includes CPLD (programmable logic), 128 Kbytes EPROM, 512 bytes SRAM, extra I/O,

Human Powered Vehicles http://www.bayscenes.com/ind/spidra/hpv.html


NJR (lots of surface mount devices) http://www.njr.com/

from Computer Design 1997 Nov p. 104 “To get a free CD-ROM, Selection Guide or AHC Data Book, call us at 1-800-477-8924, ext. 3054, or visit http://www.ti.com/sc/docs/asl/families/ahct.htm

We Can Put A Man On The Moon, But We Can’t Make Killer Robot Police? http://www.theonion.com/onion3204/killerrobotpolice.html

http://www.owirobot.com/ simple, small robot kits.

The Ganssle Group http://www.ganssle.com/ “80% of all embedded products are delivered late; most are horribly ridden with bugs. Why do we tolerate this?” Lots of Articles about Embedded Systems written by Jack Ganssle.

Gilway Technical Lamp http://www.gilway.com/ LEDs, neon lamps, halogen lamp … IR, visible, UV.

http://www.pdabuzz.com/ PDA/HPC discussion forums

Robots, Robots & more: Jorge Codina http://www.codina.org/robot.htm another monster list of robot links, much like this one.

Motorola DSP University Program http://www.mot.com/SPS/DSP/university_relations/index.html provides discounts and sometimes donations of Motorola DSP56002EVM evaluation boards and other development tools.

comp.sys.m68k Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (1996 ?) http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/motorola/68k-chips-faq/faq.html mentions

Motorola University Support gave David Cary some 68HC11s for free for his student project (). Send them a FAX of your student ID, a brief description of your project, and they might send you chips and data books for free.

Allied Electronics, Inc. http://www.allied.avnet.com/ electronics distributor

Industrial Computer Source http://www.indcompsrc.com/ Industrial Rack Mount Computers Single Board Computers Data Acquisition & Input-Output Cards

Why don’t we have classes in “Finding product information” ? All engineers need their own personal catalog file. (Many have 2 copies, one at work and one at home). Then there are the free trade magazines in every industry.

Arrow Electronics Inc. http://www.arrow.com/ claims to be “the world’s leading distributor of electronic components and computer products”.

B.G. Micro http://www.bgmicro.com/ a mail order electronics company

Circuit Cellar INK (Steve Ciarcia)

Industrial Automation Open Networking Alliance http://www.iaopennetworking.com/??? communications standard ???

ZAP Power Systems http://www.zapbikes.com/ electric bicycles and power-assist kits.

http://www.microdisplay.com/http://www.microdisplay.com/tech_integrate.html cool !

Socket X http://www.socketx.com/ graphics system standard (???)


$? CLC5956 12 bit ADC; 65 MS/s; 60dB SNR at 250 MHz. http://www.rdrop.com/~cary/html/ designed to downsample radio signals at IF … can also convert at baseband.

$? ADC1173 8 bit ADC; 15 MS/s; 3 V; 40 mW; “built for portable imaging and video … perfect for digital cameras and camcorders” http://www.rdrop.com/~cary/html/

Scale Models from Soda Cans: Complete Step by Step http://www.modelflight.com/can-du.html

Free Flight Web Ring http://www.battlecreek.net/volare/ffring.htm

RC modeling FAQs http://www.hobbyshack.com/faqs.htm

railgun parts high_voltage.html#railgun

What is this ? ” FIRST (For In spiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) … is an annual competition where a high school and an engineering company or division team up to build a remote-controlled robot that competes with other robots on a stage. There are specific cost, weight and size requirements, as well as a tight deadline. The actual game changes each year. … This culminates in a national competition at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. ”

Oregon IEEE Calendar http://www.ee.pdx.edu/~ieee/section-calendar.html[perhaps merge all IEEE info in one place ?]

(has some standards documents)

IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics-Part B Vol.26, No.3, June 1996 Special Issue on Learning Autonomous Robots http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/dorigo/SI/Special_Issue.html

The Institute, a newpaper published by IEEE http://www.institute.ieee.org/INST/ti.html

“University Intellectual Property Policy Guidelines” from http://www.ieee.org/usab

IEEE Computer Society (Oregon Chapter) http://rdrop.com/users/ieeecs/

Portland State University Student Chapter of the IEEE http://www.ee.pdx.edu/~ieee/

“University Intellectual Property Policy Guidelines” http://www.ieeeusa.org/usab/COMMITTEES/IPC/

VITA http://www.vita.com/ VITA … sponsored that Embedded Systems Software Environment initiative (ESSE) … standardization … for real-time embedded systems.

Embedded PC design resources http://www.pcengines.com/embres.htm has some links to interface standards



http://www.wilcoxon.com/ high temperature (up to 150 ‘C) accelerometers

Virtual Concrete http://arts.ucsb.edu/concrete/ Once, years ago, David Cary did a little bit of work for Virtual Concrete. It seems to be morphing into http://arts.ucsb.edu/bodiesinc/

ftp://ftp.ee.ualberta.ca/pub/cookbook/telecom/ electronic cookbook archive; includes LCD MODULE TECHNICAL REFERENCE (FAQ) Version 40(text), May 1996 ftp://ftp.ee.ualberta.ca/pub/cookbook/faq/lcd.doc

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) FAQ http://www.repairfaq.org/filipg/LINK/F_LCD_menu.html

Electronics Information Homepage http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/1164/ lots of good stuff.

http://www.engineers.com/ Software Libraries

electroBASE http://www.electrobase.com/“the Most Comprehensive Electronics Sourcing Directory on the Internet”

XPole: An Interactive, Graphical Signal Analysis Filter Design Tool http://cs-tr.cs.berkeley.edu/TR/UCB:ERL-93-70


BIT: Blank Institute of Technology http://www.drblank.com/???




Learning and Intelligent Image and Signal Analysis http://ee.tut.fi/~nnf_info/liisa.html

[move some of these signal processing links to machine_vision.html]





HyperLynx http://www.acdesign.com/hyperlynx.htm“Signal-integrity and EMC analysis software for high speed design”

“A New Approach to Periodicity Detection and Variability Detection in X-ray and Gamma-ray Astronomy” http://cadcwww.dao.nrc.ca/abstracts/gregory.tex.html

Surfing the Wavelets http://www.monash.edu.au/cmcm/wavelet/wavelet.htm


Signal Analysis and Processing http://webbooks.net/books/sigproc.html???

PortIO Demo [device driver] http://www.rain.org/~pra/ then click “PortIO Demo GUI” button. free download *very* useful to see if the hardware is really working; helps narrow down — is the problem the hardware or software ?

Internet sites on Electronics and Robotics. http://www.hooked.net/~jfong/related_sites.html

The Trinity College Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest http://www.trincoll.edu/~robot/

Internet Robotics Sites http://www.ee.nmt.edu/~bruder/ee382/robotics/robotics.html

Sensor Fusion http://www.ee.nmt.edu/~bruder/sensor.html???

the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) http://www.sae.org/ would know a thing or 2 about ruggedized robotic applications. In particular, they are developing a rugged, simple, low-cost communication protocol (RS485 twisted pair hardware ?), the SAE Truck and Bus Control and Communication Network (J1939) Subcommittee http://www.sae.org/TECHCMTE/j1939.htm( “The SAE J1939 series will offer a higher performance alternative to SAE J1708, J1587, and J1922.”). Also, electromagnetic immunity and transients are important: http://www.sae.org/PRODSERV/terms/GV_VEHEL_S.htm

http://www.eaoswitch.com/ some very heavy-duty vandal-resistant pushbuttons.

Filip Gieszczykiewicz http://www.repairfaq.org/filipg/ tons of cool electronic stuff here. Some very simple projects, repair information, interfacing, protocols, etc.

Baumer electric http://www.baumerelectric.com/ Photoelectric sensors, Encoders and rotary sensors, Pressure sensors.

Del-Tron Precision, Inc. http://www.deltron.com/ makes some incredibly small linear bearings. Ball Slide Positioning Stages (some include micrometers).

Circuits Assembly Online magazine http://www.cassembly.com/

http://www.hitechsurplus.com/ Lasers, Optics, motors, motor controllers, hand tools, rotory and linear encoders, and other electronic surplus items.

Motion Planning for Dexterous Robots http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~gini/???

Top: Computers: AI: Fuzzy http://directory.mozilla.org/Computers/AI/Fuzzy/

lots of fuzzy logic links http://www.abo.fi/~rfuller/fuzs.html

Fuzzy and Neural Control http://er4www.eng.ohio-state.edu/~ordonezr/fuzzy.html links to “adaptive fuzzy controllers with stability proofs” and “as an example of a pattern recognition application, fuzzy c-means (see James Bezdek’s page) has been used in the excellent image manipulation program ImageMagick.”

fuzzyTECH: fuzzy logic design software http://www.fuzzytech.com/

Advanced Configuration & Power Interface (ACPI) http://www.teleport.com/~acpi/ related to OnNow. ???

IEEE Neural Network Council Home Page http://www.ewh.ieee.org/tc/nnc/ the home of IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.

http://eddie.mit.edu/ftp/pub/home-automation/“various information on home automation products. Where possible, software source and binaries are provided. If you have information to contribute, or know of another archive with similar information, please send a message to \<home-automation at eddie.mit.edu> and we would be very pleased to add this into the archive that all may enjoy. ”

The journal Adaptive Behavior http://www.biologie.ens.fr/AnimatLab/www/francais/AB.html“international forum for research on adaptive behavior in animals and autonomous, artificial systems. Offering ethologists, psychologists, computer scientists, and robotic scientists the chance to compare insights, it features mechanisms, organizational principles, and architectures that can be expressed in computational, physical, or mathematical models.” “published by MIT Press”

Instrutech Corporation. http://www.instrutech.com/“Precision Instrumentation for Biological Research”. data acquisition hardware (ISA Bus, NuBus and PCI Bus (PowerMac) ); distributor for electrophysiology instruments; video acquisition system “Digital VCR mode: permits streaming uncompressed video data to hard disk at 30 frames per second”

The Amacoil/Uhing Linear Drive System http://www.amacoil.thomasregister.com/olc/amacoil/ is very clever mechanical engineering.


Universal Instruments Corporation http://www.uic.com/ develops and sells electronic assembly machine systems. lots of information on electronics assembly and the electronics assembly industry

OMEGA ENGINEERING, INC. http://www.omega.com/“Process Measurement and Control” components. Infrared, Data Acquisition, Pressure.

Concepts of Person, Self, Personal Identity: Bibliography and Texts http://www.canisius.edu/~gallaghr/pi.html points to “Robots and Rights: the Ethical Demands of Artificial Agents” by Matthew Elton http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~phl002/as3.htm

$12 (in 50 000s) ISD33000 family ( Information Storage Devices http://www.isd.com/)(complete silicon implementations of a conventional magnetic-tape recorder, provide 4K to 8K samples/sec A/D and D/A converter functions, clock oscillators, 1 to 4 minutes of non-volatile flash memory, filters, SPI and Microwire serial interfaces … require 2.7 to 3.3 V, 25 mA in operating mode … require no power to retain the stored audio signal …)

Philips Semiconductors http://www-eu.semiconductors.philips.com/ has lots of interesting devices … IEEE1394 Bus (FireWire), USB, … HDTV machine_vision.html#hdtv … CPLDs http://www.coolpld.com/$245 XPLA Professional(TM) (Free demo version available for download) for designing CPLDs. Apparently the software, prototype board schematics, and ISP download cable description for programming “all Philips JTAG CPLDs” are also available free for download. These things can run off grapefruit power http://www.coolpld.com/cdrom-offer.html. $7.50 (10 000s) PZ5032-7 (5V Pal, 3V version avail, … in 44-pin PLCC package; PC/Windows development tool for $95;) (Philips Semiconductor http://www.semiconductors.philips.com/ps/ ) (32 macrocells)(in EDN 1996 Aug. 1)

$17.44 (1000) XRD87L94 (parallel output ADC, serial version avail, 12 bits, 1 MSPS, 3V power supply) ( http://www.exar.com/) (ad in EDN 1996 Aug. 1)

Zetex plc. http://www.zetex.com/ sells H-bridges through Digi-Key http://www.digikey.com/

Scott Edwards Electronics Inc. http://www.seetron.com/ LCD panels, Serial Servo Controllers (SSCs), and lots of other nifty BASIC Stamp related items.

the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) http://www.aaai.org/

Embedded Systems Programming Magazine http://www.embedded.com/conf.html| http://www.embedded.com/

Design/Analysis Consultants, Inc. (DACI) http://www.cyberspy.com/~daci/| http://www.daci-wca.com/daci_001.htm“Design Analysis Newsletters: A Collection of Technical and Project Management Tips for the Serious (But Not Stuffy) Engineer”

Sunset Laboratory Inc. http://www.rdrop.com/~sunlab/

very cool if you’re interested in electronics. http://www.ping.be/~ping0751/

http://www.phoenixcontact.com/(im Englisch und Deutsch) INTERBUS printed circuit terminal blocks ???

silica aerogels http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/aerogel-insulation.html are a fascinating material.

Apex Microtechnology Corporation. http://www.apexmicrotech.com/see/ed/ sells a family of “Low Cost, Full-Bridge PWM Amplifier”. (10 A continuous, 15 A Peak on 80 V supply) (use analog input and internal 100 KHz oscillator … or digital PWM input) Unfortunately, they do not list prices on their web page.

“WE FIND ODD PARTS!” http://instantweb.com/o/oddparts/

$2.50 (in 1 000 s) AD5320 “World’s smallest DACs” (6 pin SOT-23 package)(12 bit 30 MHz serial input)(8 us settling time) (1999-01) Analog Devices http://www.analog.com/

$6.65 (in 1 000 s) AD7472 (12 bit DAC) 1.75 MSamples/s “specified for 2.7 V to 5.25 V operation” (1999-01) Analog Devices http://www.analog.com/

$1.55 (in 1 000 s) AD623 rail-to-rail instrumentation amplifier (single-supply) (1999-01) Analog Devices http://www.analog.com/

Microchip Technology http://microchip.com/ sells microcontrollers with on-chip regulators. Can run directly off unregulated up to 15 V (e.g., 9 V or 12 V batteries); 8 I/O ports that will accept up to 15V; and drive rail-to-rail up to 15 V. ($1.34 each in 1 000 s for OTP PIC16HV540)(1999-01).

$3.50 (in 10 000 s) CS4294 audio codec (two 16 bit A/D channels, stereo mixing for 3 stereo inputs; mono microphone input and preamp; four 18 bit D/A channels)(1999-01) from Cirrus Logic Inc. http://www.cirrus.com//* owns the Crystal Semiconductor subsidiary http://crystal.com/ */ (also sells under the Crystal brand name) “Meets or exceeds Microsoft’s(r) PC 98 and PC 99 audio performance requirements” (ADC, DAC, CMOS)

when would I want to use a “Thyristor” ?

http://www.lpkfcadcam.com/ sells the “ProtoMat 91s” a computer-controlled desktop router that accepts circuit-board designs, routes them from copper-clad boards, (and drills the holes ?).

$5.15 (in 10 000 s) ZPSD6xxV “MCU peripheral IC” carries a 2 500 gate CPLD, 128 KBytes of EPROM, 512 Bytes of SRAM, extra I/O, and a programmable interface to most 8 or 16 bit MCUs. 2.7 V, 3 V, and 5 V versions. WSI http://wsipsd.com/

Raychem PolySwitch http://circuitprotection.raychem.com/| http://raychem.com/go/circuit_protection sells really useful SMT resettable fuse. Bourns http://www.bourns.com/ sells similar devices.

AMD http://www.amd.com/magic/ Am29SL800B 8 Megabit 1.8 Volt-only Flash Memory Single-power-supply operation 1.8 Volt-only for Read, Program and Erase

Microelectronic Modules Corporation http://www.mmccorp.com/ DC-DC converters.

Open Data Acquisition Standard (ODAS) ??? no relation to the Open Door Animal Sanctuary (ODAS) http://www.creatures.com/ODAS.html Open Door Art Studio (ODAS) http://members.xoom.com/DoyleC/odas/

$43.62 (in 100 s) HI5905 (14 bit, 5 MSample/s A/D converter) internal voltage reference 5V TTL/CMOS data output latches $ 300 evaluation board Harris Corp. (1998-05)

$4.20 (in 1 000 s) TLV1572 (10 bit 1.25 MSamples/s serial ADC) from Texas Instruments http://www.ti.com/sc/5057

$20 (in 10 000 s) DSP56362 (100 MIPS DSP) Motorola http://www.dspaudio.motorola.com/(1998-05)

$1.65 (in 10 000 s) ISD1500 “20 seconds of voice record and playback” “require no battery power to retain recorded messages” Information Storage Devices http://www.isd.com/(1998-05)

$ 179 handheld LCR Component Tester from B&K Precision http://www.bkprecision.com/

$ 29 handheld multimeters (higher-priced ones have capacitance measuring) Omega Engineering Inc. omega.com

$1595 NI5102 USB-based dual-input 20 MSamples/s digital oscilloscope National Instruments http://www.natinst.com/

$ 19 (in 100 s) DMS-20LCD-1-DCM dc voltmeter digitally monitors any 8 to 40 Vdc power source “self-powered”, derived from the source being measured (only 2 connections) large 0.37” LCD display Datel Inc. http://www.datel.com/


Art on the Edge http://www.ylem.o0a.%20lem/“the intersection of the Arts & Sciences”. Robotic sculpture, “Polarized Kinetic Light Exhibit”, “Electrons Tamed for the Arts” (video and computer processing), acoustic ecology, “THE NATURE OF LIGHT: exploring unconventional photographic techniques”,

Jeff Sampson http://www.citilink.com/~jsampson/ lots of Graphic LCD Info for lots of different kinds of displays.

ComputerBoards http://www.computerboards.com/ Analog Interface Boards (competition)

Keithley Metrabyte http://www.metrabyte.com/ Analog Interface Boards (competition)

FR4 [printed circuit board material] can withstand temperatures of up to 130 degrees C, but “owing to weakening and discolouration caused by this high temperature, the maximum operating temperature is limited to 105 degrees C.” (Lund).

Electronics pages http://www.marketto.demon.co.uk/electronics/index.htm“Lots of pinout details ”

see dav_info.html#periodicals for some electronics magazines and catalogs I think are handy.

Newark Electronics

Nuts & Volts Magazine http://www.nutsvolts.com/ simple, cool projects for electronics beginners. ``… Amateur Robotics, CNC, Microcontrollers, GPS, Amateur Radio, Computer Control, BASIC Stamp, and Data Acquisition …”

Personal Computing Tools Inc. ??? sells EPROM programmers

SEEQ ???

Circuit Cellar INK: The Magazine of Embedded Control Applications http://www.circuitcellar.com/ has lots of cool electronics projects, some of them suitable for beginners. Robotics, embedded web devices, digital signal processing, robots with vision, free multitasking executives, …

The High-Tech Homestead http://www3.sympatico.ca/lsb/ Robotics and Remote Control. Has some nice little schematic diagrams online. Very simple PC serial port interfacing.


EDTN: The Electronics Design, Technology & News Network http://www.edtn.com/

The Electronic Pages http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/9504/ Links to companies, homepages of people who are dedicated to electronics and resources to pages with FAQ’s, information, … maintained by Sven Rymenants http://www.club.innet.be/~year0489/.

EE Compendium is a collection of Electronics Engineering information http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/1495/

The Genetic Programming Notebook http://www.geneticprogramming.com/ Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Genetic Algorithms, GP Tutorial

The Genetic Algorithms Archive http://www.aic.nrl.navy.mil/galist/ a repository for information related to research in genetic algorithms.

[fixme: see “ADC and DAC prices” for a few webs sites of chip manufacturers. ]



smart transducers: IEEE 1451.2

Engineering Information Inc. — known as Ei http://www.ei.org/ hosts the Engineering Information Village.

$57.20 (in 1 000 s) AD6640 (12 bit, 65 MSamples/s ADC) (300 MHz input bandwidth)(needs single +5V power supply; dissipates 710 mW; digital output stage may be powered by +5 V or +3.3 V) Analog Devices Inc. http://www.analog.com/(prices from 1998-11 Electronic Design)


Aremco Products, Inc. http://www.aremco.com/ high temperature ceramic adhesives http://www.aremco.com/p_index.html to 3200 °F. (also has other high-temp materials)

Aries Electronics, Inc. http://www.arieselec.com/

no-moving-parts (NMP) micro-pumps http://lettuce.me.washington.edu/~micropump/public/wam97paper.html

electronics humor http://www.institute.ieee.org/INST/may95/after5.html

Z-World http://www.z-world.com/“a place for zed heads” Z scale (1:220) model railroading

http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Monitor/7051/ XS40-010XL FPGA Board by Xess Corp.; 68HC11 and the Digital Lock-in Amplifier ???

John Kennedy http://kahuna.sdsu.edu/~kennedy/ using Field Programmable Gate Arrays for Digital Audio Signal Processing.

Surplus Al http://mh105.infi.net/~surplsal/ surplus military equipment

Don Lancaster’s Flutterwumper Library http://www.tinaja.com/flut01.html includes lots of robot information. The “Hexapod” section is *not* on robots with 6 feet, but is instead on the “Stewart Platform” idea for machine tools.

Lemo http://www.lemo.ch/ sells heavy-duty fiber optic and electrical connectors.

hardware standards http://www.cmpcmm.com/cc/standards.html

Usenet News Groups about robots

http://www.futurebots.com/ sells a pretty heavy-duty looking 68HC811E2 P-Brain module. (also has a antique computer collection)

http://www.dejanews.com/[ST_rn=bg]/threadmsg_bg.xp?AN=462125206.1 lots of links to hexapod walking robots

Robotics and Mars Exploration Technology http://rmet.jpl.nasa.gov/rmet/index.html

Robotics Connection: A Reference Guide for Robotics Enthusiasts

Robotics is the science of designing and building self-operating machines, also known as robots. While the term “robotics” was first invented by Isaac Asimov in a short fiction story in 1941, the concept of robots dates back as far as Greek mythology, when the Greek god Hephaestus was said to have built mechanical talking servants. Actual robots, however, only began to appear in the late 20th century, when a company named Unimation built Unimate, the world’s first robot designed for industrial work. Since then, robotics has matured into not only a multi-billion dollar industry, but also a major new type of hobby for the technologically inclined.

Today, robots are ubiquitous. They are present in the military, performing tasks such as bomb disposal and serving as unmanned combat drones, which benefits American soldiers by taking them out of harm’s way. The space industry is using robots to explore outer space and other worlds, which has resulted in humanity getting a look at the surface of Mars without risking lives in a manned mission. Robots also work in factories, producing cars and computer chips with a level of speed and accuracy that would be impossible with human hands. As a result of robotics technology in the manufacturing industry, goods are becoming cheaper for everyone. In addition, robots are being manufactured for entertainment purposes, such as robot pets and walking humanoid robots that are sold as toys. There are also androids, which are designed to look and behave like humans. A prominent example is the HRP-4, a singing robot created by Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in 2009. Robots are being designed to work in hospitals, nursing homes, and for tending to patients who are immobile and who have no relatives to care for them.

Because computer technology is becoming cheaper, robotics has become affordable to every day hobbyists. Robot design kits are available on the market for families of modest means, enabling people of all economic levels to engage in the study and construction of robots. However, they may occasionally require an adapter to connect them, such as USB to Serial, USB to GPIB, or USB to Can. Troubleshooting has become easier with online forums for code help or a repurposed intraoral camera for getting a close look at physical parts. For help with the CanBUS, a Kvaser memorator can assist with data logging.

Robotics are even being integrated into traditional children’s toys, particularly modular construction kits like Modular Robotics’ Cubelets, Lego Mindstorm or kits from Vex Robotics. The availability of cheap robot design kits is enabling people of all ages and walks of life to participate in a variety of popular robot design competitions, which is further speeding up the evolution of robotics technology. The future of robotics is, like most other technologies, not entirely clear, however androids that walk like people, auto-piloted vehicles and machines with human-like artificial intelligence are all major sources of robotics research. Fortunately, the growth of cheaper and more powerful technology is helping to ensure that more people than ever will have a chance at contributing meaningfully to the future of robotics.

History of Robotics

Robotics Education and Training

Robotics Research & News

Robotics Organizations and Associations

Robotics Magazines and E-Zines

Robotics Competitions

Student Guides to Robotics

Colin Mitchell

Colin Mitchell



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