Welcome to the Pololu Blog, where we provide updates about what we and our customers are doing and thinking about. This blog used to be Pololu president Jan Malášek’s Engage Your Brain blog; you can view just those posts here.
My earliest electronics projects and my first robot were powered by regular alkaline batteries, and I didn’t think about current or the capacity of those batteries. The batteries were prominently labeled “1.5V”, and I was happy in my understanding that putting four in a battery holder got me to 6 volts; when the motors slowed down, it was time for new batteries. When I began designing my second robot, I found some 12V, 1A motors (what a “1-amp motor” might mean is a topic for another post) and promptly wasted many hours dragging parents and teachers to Radio Shack and car parts stores looking for a 12V, 1A battery. Continued…
My name is Jan Malášek, which is a Czech name, so the “J” is pronounced as an English “Y” (if you care, we can go over the last name in person, or you can consult your local Czech person). I grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii, spent five years in school in Massachusetts, and then moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to work on Pololu. I recently turned 30, and I’m still not the millionaire I had hoped to become at age 23 and then by age 25. Hitting 30 means it has been twenty years since I got started with electronics and ten years since I routed the first circuit board that said “Pololu” on it. Continued…
Alex Louden has released an open-source template for custom 3pi expansion boards for use with the Eagle PCB design software. The picture shows an example expansion with an mbed microcontroller, Xbee, and accelerometers.
Featured link: http://alexlouden.com/2010/3pi-pcb-skeleton/
This simple obstacle-avoiding robot by forum user TomatoWire is based on the Maestro and uses continuous-rotation servos and distance sensors. The robot is programmed using the Maestro’s internal scripting language, without the need for an additional microcontroller.
Featured link: http://forum.pololu.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2756
AIRbot is a robot that can be controlled by a cellphone and can send images back to the cellphone. It uses a yellow RP5 tracked chassis, a transparent clear RP5 expansion plate, and a qik 2s9v1 dual serial motor controller along with the AIRcable S.D.K. and the AIRcable OptiEyes. The source code (both AIRcable and Nokia) and circuit diagrams are freely available.
Featured link: http://wiki.opensensors.org/airbot
In this project, an HD camcorder sits on a pan/tilt mount controlled by a Micro Maestro 6-Channel USB Servo Controller. A Wiimote is used to track an IR light source. Here is a video taken from the mounted camcorder:
Featured link: http://helifreak.com/showthread.php?p=1868143#post1868143