I have been working in I.T. industry for many years. In 2005, when I think robot will become future technologies, I start playing robot. Initially, I played Lego Mindstorm, it is a educational kits for robot development. Later, I found it is quite difficult to extend the functions of the Lego RCX. I started to study microcontroller with BASIC Stamp. Programming in BASIC Stamp is BAISC, it is easy to catch up. But it is quite expensive. Then I moved to Atmel AVR, it needs advance programming skill in C with WinAVR and gcc-avr complier. Now I am building robot with Arduino, which have same functions as that in AVR but have huge resources in robotic development. The programming in Arduino is also very easy to master. As I have gained much knowledge from opensource communities, I think sharing is very important in promoting the robotic technologies. I setup some website to share what I have done.
1. M-Block@2006 – I designed the PCB and modules. The main purpose of the module is to extend functions for Lego Mindstorm. All modules can be stacked together and communicate via I2C protocols. The idea is similar to Arduino.
2. M-Proxy@2010 – combine Arduino and mobile phone (Nokia N82) as a robotic platform. It is similar to http://www.cellbots.com
3. Arduino Universal decoder@2010 – to capture and decode different kind of signals (e.g. IR, RF in RC cars), then use a Arduino as proxy to resend the signals again.
4. DIY Packbot@2011 – this is the robot I will show in Maker Faire
When I post the details of the robot to web, many people asked me how to make the tracks for climbing stairs. I used tracks from hobby tank model, carpet and CAT5 cable.
I will show how to make the robot by buying materials from china taobo website, local hardware store and tools you need.
In Hong Kong, personal space is very small and limited; I remember I made this robot in toilet. It is quite hard and needs patience. But the satisfaction is great when you create something by your own efforts.