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mrdon
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Gold
Re: Minibloq Looks Cool and Fun!
mrdon   11/14/2012 2:30:00 AM
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HI Cabe, Yes I'm definitely looking into the Rapberry Pi based on the I/O attributes you've mentioned. I'm currently writing 2 new books on the Arduino but would like  to develop a book on the Raspberry Pi to illustrate the ease and power of this Linux based embedded system platform.

Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: Minibloq Looks Cool and Fun!
Cabe Atwell   11/13/2012 6:22:16 PM
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The Raspberry Pi is a complete computer system. Although it had some general purpose IO, I believe its original use was geared towards programming. It is worth registering on element14 to see all the projects based on the RPi. You can also buy a breakout board for the GPIO there too. Since a full fledge OS is needed for the board, doing simple robotics projects might be more cumbersome. Take a PIC10F, write a few lines of code that sends a square wave down one of the IO lines, that's it. With a full OS you can do that, but you also have to handle everything else happening in the OS. However, if you want to put in a screen on a robot, the RPi has building in HDMI out with graphics power that rivals the latest smartphones.

Just a thought.

C

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: Minibloq Looks Cool and Fun!
mrdon   10/20/2012 6:32:16 PM
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Hi gsmith, Thanks for the interest in my book as well as the one I'm currently writing.In addition, I'll be working on a webpage devoted to Arduino and electronics. I will add Arduino projects using the Minibloq software as well. What course are you teaching using the Arduino?

gsmith120
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Minibloq Looks Cool and Fun!
gsmith120   10/19/2012 7:30:27 PM
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Mrdon your book looks interesting I will have to get a copy. I look forward to your next book. The class I teach at a MD University currently uses the Arduino board.

Jon Titus
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Blogger
Raspberry Pi Gone Bad
Jon Titus   10/15/2012 1:47:31 PM
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I went to the element14 Web site (element14 is part of distributors Newark and Farnell) to get more information about the Raspberry Pi computer because a new board with more memory just cdame out. Unfortunately the Element14 Community section of the company's Web site requires registration even to get basic product specs.  Click on an interesting screen and the data appears for a few seconds, then a black screen with a sign-in form appears.  If you close this window, you go back to the main page.  This is a rotten way to treat potential customers.  Raspberrt Pi?  Phooey.

Jon Titus
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Blogger
Re: Minibloq Looks Cool and Fun!
Jon Titus   10/12/2012 5:01:59 PM
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Thanks, mrdon.  Let us know when your next book becomes available.  Sounds like readers will have a lot of fun with their Arduino boards.

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Minibloq Looks Cool and Fun!
mrdon   10/12/2012 12:25:15 PM
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The Minibloq software used to program the Arduino based Multiplo robots is quite interesting in that it looks like the LEGO Mindstorms iconic programming language. Too bad I couldn't have mentioned Minibloq in my book Learn Electronics with Arduino. I plan on investigating this software as I start developing Arduino projects for my new book Arduino Robotics Controllers this weekend. If time permits, I'll probably do a Gadget Freak project for Design News readers to try it out themselves in a couple of weeks. Here's the link to Minibloq software.

http://blog.minibloq.org/p/blocks_16.html

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: Erector set
mrdon   10/12/2012 11:09:59 AM
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Hi Jon, Agreed. The idea of taking a software object from a computer screen and making it tangible is the underlining concept that Seymour Papert of MIT developed for the LEGO Mindstorms kit. Seymour created Logo software back in the late 70's to allow kids to explore computer programming concepts using a triangle as the virtual robot. He called the triangle a "turtle" and based on his research found kids wanting it to be a real robot they can interact with. Seymour then created a salad bowl looking robot which was programmable using switches. Several years later (1998) the original LEGO Mindstorms RCX programmable brick was born.

As you stated, Open Source Hardware is becoming the mainstream trend in rapidly developing cool electronics using passionate makers as design and test engineers for product development tasks. The Multiplo robot has a lot of appeal because of its open hardware and software architecture and the fact it uses the Arduino I see all kinds of cool shields and accessories being developed. Based on the many development actitivies that can spawn from Multiplo, I see this robot being the flagship of tech startup businesses that can play a role in stimulate the economy. 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Erector set
Rob Spiegel   10/12/2012 11:08:05 AM
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Jon, I agree the hands-on learning can be much more powerful than the traditional lecture. This is especially true when the hands are on something as cool as a robot.

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Raspberry Pi
Jon Titus   10/12/2012 10:39:11 AM
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Hi, ttemple.  The Raspberry Pi looks interesting but I haven't bought one yet.  Many people and companies make excellent hardware. Students and teachers need good educational materials to go with them.  Unfortunately, not all companies or groups have the money or people to create such materials or to write them in a way that people find helpful.  Take a look and see if you can find good teaching/learning materials before you jump into anything.

I'll take a closer look at the Raspberry Pi.  Keep in mind that this board might not be a good choice for engineers who want to create a product around the board's Broadcom chip because Broadcom does not plan to sell the chip except to very large equipment manufacturers that can buy large quantities.

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