There are plenty of “how to design a robot” tutorials out there; this is not one of them. Why is this one different? Because the author, GastonLagaffe, doesn’t want to tell you what to do, as he doesn’t want to limit your creativity. 🙂 His personal goals for this robot were for it to be small, autonomous, cheap, easy to solder, easy to program, with plenty of holes, and swarm capable, and although the journey to get from concept to implementation took him 12 months, he learned a lot along the way.
So if you want to make a robot, why not dream big as you read about how Gaston took what started as a small wish and made it a reality, Gaston-style. To see his journey, check out this HelveKit Robot Design Journey on Instructables. You may smile as you see his approach and decide you would have done it differently, but that’s exactly what Gaston would want you to do!
If you saw our post about the new chipKIT Lenny, and you’re totally excited, we have more news for you! In advance of the production release, Majenko Technologies, originator and designer of the Lenny, is offering early access to this new board. You can purchase a limited edition, sneak preview of the Lenny before the production boards roll out. These boards are production-ready, just without the packaging. So get yours today!
We have some great news for USB lovers! A new board, chipKIT Lenny, is in final prototype stages and preparing for production. If you haven’t already guessed, the chipKIT Lenny is the PIC32 equivalent of the Arduino Leonardo, only considerably advanced, with more peripherals and overall power.
The Lenny features a direct USB connection that provides a separate USB serial connection in addition to the two UART serial connections provided on the GPIO headers. Advanced users can use the Microchip Harmony framework in MPLAB X IDE to emulate further USB devices such as HID keyboards and mice. For chipKIT core users, enhanced support for emulation is being actively worked on and can be previewed by using the Harmony USB core in UECIDE.
The PIC32 microcontroller on the chipKIT Lenny is a PIC32MX270F256D MCU at 40 MHZ with 256K of Flash and 64K of RAM. This board features the following, and much more!
Two I2S/SPI modules for Codec and serial communications
Parallel Master Port (PMP) for graphics interfaces
Charge Time Measurement Unit (CTMU)
Two UART and I2C™ modules
Five 16-bit Timers/Counters (two 16-bit pairs combine to create two 32-bit timers)
Five Capture inputs and Five Compare/PWM output
Keep your eyes peeled for the chipKIT Lenny release, coming soon!
Darryl is at it again, with a new Android app called PIC32USB, providing OTG-supported phones/tablets with a hardwired communication to a PIC32 microcontroller. Use any of the 24 buttons to send messages to the PIC32 device, customize any button to change the string sent to the device, and send/recieve data to/from the device using a chat-like interface. Check out his sample code to test it out on your OTG-supported mobile device and your supported PIC32-based board. Darryl has successfully tested this app with the chipKIT Fubarino SD, chipKIT Fubarino Mini, and his very own MAKEmicro32 board.
Have you ever wondered if you could control a stepper motor’s speed and direction using an RC servo controller (for example from the stick of a RC airplane transmitter)? Wonder no longer – using a Fubarino Mini and a Big Easy Driver stepper motor controller, Brian Schmalz was able to write a simple sketch to enable precise control of a stepper motor from an RC servo input signal.
This sketch uses a 32-bit hardware timer and output-compare module on the PIC32 so that very accurate step speeds are generated. Step speeds from 1 step per second to over 12,000,000 steps per second can be configured using #define values in the sketch. There is also a configurable dead zone in the stick’s center position.
One advantage of this type of control system over a simple DC motor controller is that the speed of the stepper is not dependent on the load (to a point), so you can very accurately control the speed of whatever you are moving even if the load torque changes over time.
Check out the simple video of this sketch in action:
For complete instructions on how to duplicate this setup, see the complete description here on Brian’s site: RC Servo to Stepper Sketch
Take a deep dive into the hardware of the chipKIT Uno32 in this #ThrowbackThursday post that features a March 2012 article from our friends at Nuts & Volts Magazine. Fred Eady, the author, talks about the Arduino hardware model, describing it as “a perfect example of a universal electronic cluster design.” Eady discusses the serial USB interface in depth, and also examines and explains the schematics for powering the chipKIT Uno32 board. Finally, he ends with a deep dive into the Basic I/O Shield, the code libraries that give this board functionality, and the reasoning behind abstraction of the library code.
Oleg Mazurov and Andrew Kroll have ported the Circuits@Home USB Host Shield 2.0 Library to chipKIT. This is the library that inspired Google to create the Android ADK (Accessories Development Kit)! With this library you can add USB Host capabilities to chipKIT Uno32 (which has none) or to chipKIT Max32 with a Network Shield, allowing for either a second USB Host port or both a USB Host and USB Device port.