View Full Version : [Question(s)] Robotics Rookie, advice needed.

11-01-2008, 05:13 PM
I have been looking around trying to find a good kit to start with but I dont know what to get. I have looked into getting a VEX kit as it looks very customizable as far as design is concerned however its programming software isnt Mac compatible, I have fusion so I could still install it but it would be nice to have a Mac compatible software. Another reason I have looked into VEX is because I could download step files from their site, import them into Pro/e and design my robot in there before building it. Get all my weights right and I can get Pro/e to tell me where my center of gravity is so its not falling over.

The Mindstorm looks like a good option as well because its software is Mac compatible but I am not sure if there are files I could import into Pro/e and design it there first. However it does seem that Mindstorm would allow me to make a humanoid as well as other things, perhaps a robot that would shoot a paintball gun :D, so I like this option as well.

Maybe there is a completely different option that would be even better for me. I dont know any programming language so I would need something that has a drag and drop style software to get me started. I am a mechanical designer with strong Pro/e skills however so I would love to be able to use that to design my robots before I build them.

Any help would be very appreciated.

11-01-2008, 05:44 PM
NXT is probably a good start, It is fairly easy to use and lots of 3rd party sensors for this setup, i don't think you will be using a paintball setup with Mindstorms /NXT though, Technics pieces are not really robust enough for that kind a weapon.

11-06-2008, 11:08 AM
first... even better than vex or nxt you could use the arduino which has mac compatible software and i agree that nxt could never support a pb gun www.arduino.cc

11-06-2008, 11:18 AM
It could be amusing to watch, though. Every time the paintball gun fires it blows the robot it's attached to into pieces. That's Newton's Third Law in action. :D

11-06-2008, 11:50 AM
Hmmm...NXT could make a humanoid...but its less likely to work the way you want. Vex could also...as in its possible, but again making a humanoid that you will be happy with involves controlling atleast 8 actuators for the legs alone. (i know it can be done with 2, but it is very difficult to get a good walking gate, and that makes turning incredibly difficult to imagine.) More likely 12 for the legs and then more for the arms, and any sort of head action you might want. As far as mac compatability goes, as far as entry level kits go, I'm not sure about all of your options.

Ok, so my advice. I teach a robotics and the Lego NXT kit is great for getting started, and learning about robotics. It is though in the end, for the most part, a toy. An incredibly useful toy, or modeling kit, but you are probably going to want something more robust for a final build. (all of my students model rovers using legos before they get to build anything bigger.

As for kits that make humanoids, but still cater to beginners, look at the bioloid and robobuilder kits. You may not be able to program them natively using a mac, and as a mac user I feel the frustration, but down the road you may be happier with one of these kits than you would be with a lego kit, if making a humanoid is your dream, and you are a beginner.

That said, some of the dedicated humanoids may be more difficult/too much robot to begin with, but you may want to check them out also depending on both your own ability and your financial situation.

Oh...finally for a robot that carries a paintball gun check out gepetto and vivian (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=1439).

Hope this helps more than it hurts.