need help selecting the right hardware

Hi Folks!

I'm a java developer interested in robotics but with limited knowhow in electronics. I could read into it but time is limited and what I'm really interested in is writing the software.

So for my project I am searching for a kit or whatever that I can extend with additional sensors like camera(s) distance sensors and so on, that lets me write my code in java. (with a reasonable price) The target is to control the robot from the pc over wifi, at first manually, then I want it to run autonomous. At first I thought about putting my netbook on wheels but now I found Arduino which seems to work even better. Sensor input and control to the robot should be fast enough to control it in real time (so a low quality video stream will be necessary)

I found two kits that might work:

preferred: http://www.robotshop.com/robotshop-rover-arduino-basic-kit-6.html http://www.robotshop.com/dfrobotshop-rover-tracked-robot-xbee-kit-15.html

can anybody tell me if it is possible to do all that with arduino? right now I'm not sure about how much I can extend those two existing rovers with additional arduino shields and if I can attach those sensors at all. Speed is of course the other major concern.

if this is not possible I would revive the netbook on wheels idea and put an arduino motor control + usb on top of the netbook which would give me the possibility to use usb webcams and phidgets but that would make it all more expensive too...

thanks for any input! Robert

Note that the Arduino microcontroller is programmed in a dialect of C++, not Java (the IDE is written in Java)

Conceivably a Java-->C(++) translator that works with a small memory footprint exists, but it seems unlikely.

So if programming the hardware in Java is a requirement I'd be inclined to look for some of the Arm based controllers - Arduinos don't have enough ram or horsepower for a JVM port. However you might want to play with the Arduino to start with as interfacing it is simple and there's a lot you can do before moving to autonomous mode.

I'd need the java part only on my pc - and some way to communicate with simple controls and the sensors on the arduino board...

Ah, that's much more do-able!

Ah, that's much more do-able!

Well, except this part...

with additional sensors like camera(s)

In general, you can't do anything with a camera using an Arduino, except point it in the right direction and turn it on/off.

In general, you can't do anything with a camera using an Arduino,

I've been researching this lately. I have a friend who wants to capture photos of a bobcat that is drinking from a small pond in his avacado grove.

The Canon A590 (not in production any more - eBay for about $60) was judged to be the best auto-wildlife-capture camera a few years ago. Canon has a complete line of cameras (the Axxx series) that can accept a three-wire plug that can be used to fire the camera from and external computer/microcontroller. I found a $10 Passive Infrared (PIR) at Radio Shack, and there are a number of plans/articles for this around the net.

This setup fires the camera when an animal approaches within a range of about 20 feet. Not finished my research yet, but it seems Arduino unattended control of a camera seems to be do-able.

but it seems Arduino unattended control of a camera seems to be do-able.

As long as all you are doing is turning it on and off (taking still pictures/triggering it to take videos), yes.

Just don't expect the Arduino to track the cougar, or to post the video on the internet.

hi guys,
i am new to arduino…
i am planning a project
there will be two arduino boards with xbees and digital compass connected to them.
i want one of them send its data to other one and i want the other one to compare that with its data and diplay which direction to turn (left or right) to sync the direction with the other.
can any one tell me if it is possible or not
if possible which boards i have to use…
any help is appreciated…

thanks for the help guys!

this sounds as if I have to find some other way. right now I'm thinking about this:

http://www.robotshop.com/summerour-traxster-robot-kit-1.html

on that thing I'll mount my netbook and connect it to: http://www.robotshop.com/dfrobot-arduino-compatible-motor-shield-2a.html http://www.robotshop.com/dfrobot-atmega1280-mega-usb-microcontroller.html

on top of the netbook I'd set a webcam or maybe microsoft kinect then

does this shopping list sound complete to you? anything else recommended, especially if I want to use some more sensors (connected to the arduino board)?