Scott Hanselman

Coding4Fun: Microbric Viper Robot with an Iguanaworks IR Serial Port and PowerShell

February 19, '07 Comments [2] Posted in Coding4Fun | PowerShell
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UPDATE: Speaking of Robots, also check out what Ashish is doing with a Laser Pointer and Remote Controlled Car - he's created an autonomous robot!

I finally got around to creating Part 2 of my article on controlling a Microbric Viper Robot with an Iguanaworks IR Serial Port. This time I used Lee Holmes (with permission) LOGO in PowerShell sample and extended it to control the robot. A video is at left hosted on SoapBox and also hosted at Channel9.

Purchasing these Parts

The Microbric Viper can be ordered online in North America, check out www.microbric.com for North American distributors. It's only US$89 at Saelig and CAD$99 at RobotShop. They have a number of educational robots that can be assembled by kids of all ages and skill levels. They're great for the classroom, and include projects like Sumo Robots, and a line-following bot, as well as a Spiderbot that climbs rope - all from the same kit.

You can order the IR Transmitter/Receiver from IguanaWorks. The serial version works on Windows or Linux, and there's a Linux USB version. It's not just a Transmitter, but also a learning receiver that works with WinLIRC and turns your computer into a learning remote control and can be used for nearly any project that utilizes IR

Robotics Studio

A number of folks asked why I didn't use the Microsoft Robotics Studio to do this project. Well, here's my reasoning:

  • I'm ignorant about what the Robotics Studio can do.
  • Early CTPs of the Studio - before it was released - seemed really confusing to me, very abstract and generally obstuse. Not obtuse on the BAD way, just in the "I didn't immediately get it with a few hours and gave up" way.

If anyone thinks that this project and the Microbric Robot could really benefit from the Robotics Studio - or even if you're on the Studio team - do contact me and educate me. I'd love to do a podcast on the Studio, but I don't want to talk about a topic I know so little about. School me!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007 6:44:45 PM UTC
Regarding Robotics Studio, I find it too general purpose for it to be fun. I have a Mindstorms NXT kit and I find the software that comes with it much easier to use (for obvious reasons).
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 12:08:15 PM UTC
I agree with Vaibhav that if all you are trying to do is control the motors the effort involved with writing all the services to hook into MSRS is probably not going to get you very much. Interesting non-the-less though to use the CCR.

However if you were to get an BlueTooth card similar to http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=30068 hook it to the basic chip and hang a couple of sensors off of the vipor like a compass or sonar then MSRS starts to get interesting.
Kevin
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.