Robots, Arduino and electronics

Posted by Dragica Kahlina Category: blogposts, Category 1, robots Tag: ,

If somebody reading this blog has any recommendations about good tutorials, blogs or books about electronics and robots, any help would be appreciated. My problem is, that I need help on the hardware stuff, not the programming. I found these cool sites in Switzerland Zerko, where they sell parts and this site dshop, where they sell Arduino boards. They even have descriptions, but they are to technical for me. I was, until now, a software person. I can solder, but I haven’t done it for around 20 years now. That’s what university and work will do to you ;-). I have only a vague idea how to get a wheel on a robot. There are a lot of sites and tutorials how to program the robot, which, having read enough path finding, AI and other robotics paper in my life, I have fairly good idea how to manage. But all this sensor and servo stuff is rather intimidating to me. Now I wouldn’t have a problem with just trying it out, but the stuff I can get my hands on seems to be fairly expensive. I plan to buy lots of small stuff to try out, but this doesn’t work if the stuff costs 30$ – 100$ (per motor and then one needs an controller too ?) and I have no idea what servo to use for a small beginner project (to avoid too much delivery costs and small parts costs, I would like to get everything in bulk).
By the way, modern times and the web are fantastic. I looked at all the stuff in the shops above and in the Zerko shop they have a game console to build on your own, but the real cool stuff is to realize that you can actually build your own custom game controller nowadays, for not a lot money and without a lot of soldering. Just use some Phidget sensor (they have some that come USB ready) or a Arduino board and some distance or temperature measure. This is seriously cool.