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Thread: Best robotics Language?

  1. Re: Best robotics Language?

    Although I prefer Python to Java, Java is faster than Python at this time because Java has a standardized JIT (Just In Time) compiler. Python has Psyco, but the last I heard it only worked on 32bit processors. There is also a project called PyPy which aims to do much of the same thing. Since both Python and Java are eventually compiled to a platform independent byte code which is then put through a platform dependent interpreter which converts it to the machine language for the underlying processor, both will naturally be slower than C which itself is compiled to machine language. The layer issue as somebody else mentioned above. Yes executing both Java and Python will eventually be running machine code, but will run varying amounts of machine code for the same exact functionality. The one that executes more code to do the same thing will be slower, as of now Python is slower than Java. The question these days with fast and multi-core processors is not how fast a language is, but if it is fast enough to do what you need done. In the last 10 years of writing Python there has only been one time when Python was not fast enough, so I wrote that part in C and wrapped it in Python.

    Now for robotics, nothing in this thread really makes any difference, just use the language that you feel most comfortable with and which has the support you need. As somebody else said if the language you want to use can access USB, serial, or anyother port you will need, then the language will work for robotics.

    Lets not do any name calling here please, it only gets people pissed and doesn't contribuate anything to the discussion. I have over 35 years a software engineering experience that I can lend to this group if people want it. I've been in the business long enough to know that us engineers have the largest of all egos. Lets keep them in check okay?

  2. #32
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    Re: Best robotics Language?

    Quote Originally Posted by cnobile View Post
    The question these days with fast and multi-core processors is not how fast a language is, but if it is fast enough to do what you need done.

    .... just use the language that you feel most comfortable with and which has the support you need.
    Exactly!

    -Fergs

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    Re: Best robotics Language?

    Well if this is for a foosball controller then it needs to be FAST at runtime. Fast sensors, fast actuators and to me that's crying out for low level C (maybe some assembler) optimised for the microcontroller hardware.

  4. #34

    Re: Best robotics Language?

    An important point that I think was missed is that you need to consider the language together with the microcontroller and robotic hardware you plan to integrate with and whether or not your logic will be completely onboard or slave to a PC. In the latter scenario you may end up with two completely different development platforms - one on the robot and one on the PC.

    Depending on what you're doing, you'll probably want to use libraries written by other people to integrate with your hardware. Do you know what hardware you want to use? Has someone already written the low-level code that you can re-use? If so, what platform did they use? Are you willing use a particular platform even if it means you have to reinvent the wheel? Given that you've satisfied all the above, will the platform be powerful enough to meet the lofty goals that you will inevitably set?

    If you want an interesting bot that actually works vs a pile of parts and a frustrated programmer (aka YOU), then you need to think about these things. There are a lot of choices, but I would put all the hardware and software pieces together from a high-level design perspective before committing to a platform.

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    Re: Best robotics Language?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    ... you may end up with two completely different development platforms - one on the robot and one on the PC.
    I think this almost a given. Choice of high-level language on the micro is going to be limited almost exclusively to either C or BASIC. Depending on application, many applications automatically rule out BASIC-based "microcontrollers".

    Most people I know, would rather learn a second, easier to use language, for their PC-based development, than use C on the PC all the time (it also majorly lacks cross-platform portability). (and if we want to talk about BASIC, what you find on your PC most likely won't even resemble what you found on your micro, so it's like learning second language).

    -Fergs

  6. #36

    Re: Best robotics Language?

    Hi, I see form this thread that there are a lot of people with serious programming experience. I'm just a beginner in robotics. I started with a Picaxe microcontroller, which is very easy to program yet is also limiting. I would like to learn a language which I could use on my Windows Mobile 6.5 phone. It has more sensors built in then any of the robots I've built so far, along with internet connectivity and so on, so I'd like to integrate it into a robot where it would make up the sensors and 'brain', something like Wimo. It would communicate movement commands via bluetooth to a microcontroller with Bluesmirf module.
    So far I've considered C++, which I think is the native language of the device and so is probably very capable, and Python. Is C++ overkill for accessing the sensor data, making decisions and outputting serial commands over bluetooth? And is Python capable of doing this.
    Thanks
    Sam

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    Re: Best robotics Language?

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    When you say it has "more sensors" - really? Which ones? It has an IR range finder, an Ultrasonic range finder, a laser range finder, pressure sensors, analog inputs, ...?

    You didn't mention which Windows Mobile it was, but I haven't seen one with all that - I'd love to know so I could run out and grab one!
    I Void Warranties´┐Ż

  8. #38

    Re: Best robotics Language?

    Hi, thanks.
    Its a Samsung Omnia II. Some features which seem to be obviously useful are
    - a three axes accelerometer
    - GPS
    - a compass
    - a light level sensor
    However there is also
    - a 'proximity sensor' - presumably IR
    - two cameras
    - a touchscreen, possibly useful for bump sensors
    I've also seen an application which allowed some kind of sonic ranging using the built in speaker and microphone.
    I suppose other sensors could be linked to the microcontroller and readings reported back to the phone over Bluetooth.
    Sam

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