Jack, that's a really interesting concept--parts specified and installed so they can be swapped out to update the robot or try out different technologies. Jon, was there any hint of this possibility from Freescale?
Hi, Jack. You probably want to keep the TWR-MECH board for all experiments because it provides eight servo outputs and can accept two add-on sensor boards. I have the LFDA7455 3-axis accelerometer board and the LFDA3110 magnetometer board inserter on my robot, so it can provide accurate magnetic headings. The TWR-MECH board has an edge connector that ensures compatibility with other Freescale Tower boards, so you can "stack" on other boards you want to experiment with or test. The TWR-MECH board has touch-sensor inputs and plenty of digital I/O pins, too. I'll have more to report later this week.
My wife had daVinci robotic surgery this past January and was walking about within a day. Using teleoperating machine control techniques and haptics, doctors are able to perform surgeries that are less invasive because of these highly accurate robotic machines. In addition to Parallax offering BoeBot kits that are great for STEM projects, they also provide a BoeBot shield that can be attached to an Arduino as well.
Ann, one of the many challenges facing engineers is staying current with new and emerging technologies. The Freescale TWR Robotics development platform is a cost effective training tool for learning evolving technologies.
I agee Ann. With all of the embedded products currently available and new ones on the drawing board, a familiarity with programming is important for technology literacy in our society. A robot like this one is a good way to experiment and explore key technologies such as sensors and microcontrollers used in an abundant products like smart phones, dishwashers, washers and dryers, to name a few. The $199 price makes it a good buy to explore robotics and Mechatronics technologies as well!
Thanks very much Jon for featuring the Freescale FSLBOT in your column. I'm really looking forward to hearing about your experience with this kit. For anyone interested, there's more information on the product page www.freescale.com/mechbot . And of course, we'd love to introduce you to FSLBOT (or the team behind the bot) at the Freescale Technology Forum in San Antonio, June 18-24.
Because the robot uses BASIC, I agree with Nancy that it would offer a good way to introduce kids to STEM topics and have them do things with a real-world device that includes motor controls and sensors. It wouldn't take much to increase the size of the metal mounting plate so people could add an ultrasonic distance sensor, limit switches, IR detector, and so on. I'll also add a pitch for Parallax, a company that sells many robot kits and plenty of add-ons. The company also has many good reference books and manuals with experiments. Look at the BoeBot, for example. www.parallax.com.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.