Digilent's line of Robotic Development Kits (RDK) are a starting point for those new
to robotics, and can also be used for advanced designs and applications. The
RDK line includes a basic kit, a line-sensor kit and a remote control kit.
Functions and operations
The kits are each geared towards a different specialty, and each
has downloadable assembly instructions and a demo project that make it easy to
get a robot up and running quickly. The Basic Robotic Kit provides the
components needed to build a simple autonomous robot. The Line Sensor kit can autonomously
follow a line, and the Remote Control Kit provides the components need to build
a wired remote control robot using an Ethernet cable.
Tools in the kit
Each kit pairs Digilent's Cerebot 32MX4 microcontroller development board with a rugged steel
platform and all the motors, wheels, sensors and development software needed to
build a complete robot. Also, Digilent has a diverse line of peripheral modules
(Pmods) to implement basic experiments to more advanced systems designs.
Microcontroller Development Board
Cerebot 32MX4 features one of the Microchip PIC32 microcontrollers. The PIC32 provides
a 32-bit MIPS processor core operating at 80 MHz, 512 kbyte of program FLASH
and 32 kbytes of RAM memory and numerous peripheral devices, including a USB
controller and timer/counters. The board has numerous I/O connectors and power
supply options, including USB power. It also has a built-in programming and
debug circuit compatible with the included Microchip MPLAB development
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.