Although called a "wireless" robot, it does not come with a wireless connection, although Freescale has a wireless tower board, TWR-12311, a development tool for the MC12311 system in package (price $149). Or you can use a TWR-RF-SNAP wireless board (price $149). I suggest using a small wireless module such as a Digi International XBee Series 1 module that can provide point-to-point serial communications, as well as communicate digital and analog information. Use a Freescale TWR-PROTO board to mount the XBee (or similar module). In any case, you also need a radio transceiver to communicate with the robot if you want wireless control and information communications. Digi International manufactures the XBee modules and I have used the X24-ACI-001 modules with good results in other applications. They cost about $20 each.
If you plan to hardwire a wireless module to the TWR-MECH board, you don't need what Freescale calls the "elevator" card-edge connectors that supply the card-to-card bus and control signals. If you want to use the elevators, use Freescale's part number TWR-ELEV to locate them on the Freescale or a distributor's website. Digi-Key shows some in stock for $29. The boards have four edge-connector receptacles.
You can find several references that describe the use of XBee modules and wireless sensor networks. Search bookseller Websites for "xbee" or "wireless sensor."
One final thought: The robot has metal feet that slip on smooth surfaces. I used some contact cement on the bottom of each foot and attached rubber material to reduce skidding. The thin rubber pieces sold in grocery and hardware stores as "jar-top openers" work well. Cut to fit the bottom of the feet.
Jon, that was an interesting description of your first experiences. First, I suggest you get off of WindowsXP. Windows 7 will make your machine run better and would not have the driver problem, I expect. I did the upgrade to an old machine and it definately improved the system.
I am also wondering about wireless communications. It has a USB port. I wonder if a Zigbee or Bluetooth dongle might work with this. Something to try.
Nice in-depth account of how to work with FSLBOT, Jon. Based on your hands-on experience, how might the robot help students and hobbyists dive deeper into mechatronics? And is this simply a training platform or are there possiblities for real applications based on FSLBOT?
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