Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Build Your Own Robot For About $89 81

usgrant writes: "The Robotics Club of Yahoo has grown to 500+ members over the last two years, and now they have created a little something of their own. A few months ago they released their own public robot kit called TRaCY. The kit goes for $89 and has the basic features: IR detection, BASIC Stamp II programmable chip, bump sensors, light sensors, servo motors ... The chip is programmable and is made by Parallax. Write the code on your comp, and upload to the robot through a serial port. The wizards at TRCY even added sample source code to have the 'bot wander the room. (Sorry, I don't think the software has been ported to Linux...) They also released the 'parts' list and a PDF manual for instructions. Lots of people contributing to this on their free time, and looks like some new developments are coming in the near future. "
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Build Your Own Robot For About $89

Comments Filter:
  • No, not really. That is quite a deal. The Basic Stamp II, depending on the exact model and dealer run around $50, plus the servos they use are coming in around $7-8 a piece. Throw in a few IC's, sockets, caps, resistors, the frame, hardware and wheels and $89 is very realistic. For an idea of what other robot/kits cost check out a site like []. At $89 bucks, the TRaCY is a steal.
  • Hell; who needs robotic Yerry Seinfeld? (Yes, I saw the episode) What I'd like to see would be a match between Aibo [] and your animatronic Rooster Rot. And, of course, my money's goin on Aibo. Aibo may look harmless, but under that oh-so-cute semi-opaque face plate lurks the mind of a vicious killer. Disregard the dull plastic paws and the lack of teeth; Aibo knows how to go for the kill. Switch that bad boy into performance mode [] and Rooster Bot wont know what hit him; Aibo's been trainin with the Motion Editor, and hes got some killer moves. Just you wait, Rooster Rot, yes, cower in fear, cuz Aibo's comin to get ya!

  • Who the hell moderated this to funny? Shooting children isn't funny.

    Although maybe Nike or the Indonesian govt could find a use for gun equipped robots, shooting their 8 year old workers if they didn't work hard enough.

  • Dude...that sig is kind of interesting...I clicked on it just to see what happened...but if not for the autosave feature in Civ II, countless hours of work could have been wasted...but that would go under "my own damn fault"...but think of the children, d00d.

  • But I should point out that I don't see what about this is "illegal crap"...thank God. If someone wants to say these things, they can. It isn't illegal to have damaging, malicious, evil or even untrue views...until you say something malicious against a person that can't be proven.

    I think we all know the argument, if we stop Nazi's right to free speech, we will be just as bad as them, etc.

  • Amen. Truly a masterfull troll... 7 pages and not a single mention of grits!

  • >Won't releasing the code for the robots make it easier for Supervillons to create their army of
    >killer robots out of some code origionally designed to dust my house and feed my cat?

    Archvillain for hire... illain.htm

    As you can see from the streaming web-cam, there are still perfectly adequate options even without the killer robots.
  • There's lots of affordable robot kits over at [], no this isn't an ad I just happen to get their catalog. Or for 25k a day you can rent the 60,000 pound firebreathing car eater Robosaurus [].

  • What would it take to run a robot on Windows CE?

    Nathaniel P. Wilkerson
    NPS Internet Solutions, LLC []
  • I stand corrected.
  • I have no idea what you are talking about here. Please clarify.

    Nathaniel P. Wilkerson
    NPS Internet Solutions, LLC []
  • I guess he is talking about the software for loading up your code to the robot. Perhaps even some kind of IDE, NOT the robot's code.
  • A lot more than $89 dollars.

    Licensing fees, all the memory it will need, the display, etc.

    Hmmm...I've been doing a lot of reading lately about the speed of change in our culture, and the dangers of technology.

    I just realized something, Microsoft, and the crap it produces, is exactly like the Technological Institutions that Neil Postman talks about in Technopoly. It is a Technological way to stop technology from spreading too fast and taking us over. Bureaucracy was something else he talked about on the same vein. He said they were good because they acted as buffers, but bad because they didn't solve the real problems and tended to add their own.

    Who else can explain the utter crap that Microsoft puts out? Bill Gates, in his poor misguided mind, is really trying to save Western Civilization by producing a barrier against real technology so that we aren't overwhelmed by it.

    That's why he hates Linux so.
  • Who's going to be the first to enter one of these in robot wars
  • Hmm... I wonder if I could rig this up to retrieve soda and pizza for me from the refridgerator? ;) Seriously though, I watched a friend play with his Basic II in high school electronics. The thing is powerful. I can't imagine all the things you could get this little robot to do with a little ingenuity. How about a little repair droid for your car, like R2D2. "TRaCY, see if you can lock down that windshield wiper!" Yeah, it's late.


  • Do you think it is possible to get the cost down to $74 by buying cheap components. What about home made ones? I make a pretty mean Celeron 366. The reason I ask is that my projected life earnings total $76. I don't think I will be able to get it unless I kill someone and take their wallet. Does anyone plan on hanging out in a dark alley soon? Could you call me first? How hard would it be to turn some sand into some RAM? I have plenty of sand, and I heard that that is what they get silcon out of.

    Since my karma has been getting pretty high lately (I finally broke 4!) I thought I'd throw something in for the moderators:

    Mmm... Natalie Portman down my grits with hot pants, naked and petrified. Did I forget anything?

    I'm sorry for this post.


  • Or for 25k a day you can rent the 60,000 pound firebreathing car eater Robosaurus.

    I remember that thing at a local air show a few years ago... They got it all up and running, it started spewing fire .. then it shut off. Quite disappointing..


  • Then again... why exactly would we want to port this to linux?

    I can understand porting the PC front-end to linux so we can use our machines to programme it but why the robot itself?

    You only need an OS like linux (or whatever) in the robot itself if it's going to be really clever (or if you want it crunching SETI as it wanders around) And this will tend to require a bigger processor, more ancillary components, bigger batteries, heavier construction, beefier motors, bigger batteries etc etc....

    A totally different type of robot altogether



  • Sorry, but I think this is "Interesting" enough to cancel out the "Offtopic"-ness. Would someone care to explain this thing? From the context, I guessed that it would cause something "Bad" to happen, as in to give the hypothetical Windows-liker something to think about, though a crash seemed a bit much to hope for, since, come on -- it's just a local URL.

    So, I fired up the ole VirtualPC, after making a copy of my C-drive disk image file (let's see you back up and restore a real PC that easily), and tried it. I first looked for the corresponding file, but I didn't see anything called "con" on my "C:"; I thought maybe it was just an NT thing (I only virtually run Win95 on my G4), but it still worked -- at least VPC is bug-for-bug compatible with the real thing. Now I have to know: What is this thing? From the form of the URL, I guessed that it might be some sort of system executable, maybe being called recursively and causing a stack overflow or something. Is that even close? Also, on what versions of Windows does it work?

    By the way, IJLS: ...but think of the children, d00d.

    I also have to agree with EnglishTim who, further down [], wonders how good an idea this is from an advocacy standpoint: after suffering unknown loss of data and/or damage to his system, will the victim blame: (a) Microsoft, for making such a shoddy OS; (b) himself, for being stupid enough to bite at an obvious trap; or (c) you, for putting it there?

    An even worse thought: what if some script kiddy, instead of defacing a web site he had "0wn3d" with juvenile graffiti, were to just replace the "HREF=" of some of the site's links with this, so that people would see the site as usual, but get unexplained crashes?

    David Gould
  • But if you are building a *cheap* robot, why go with a Basic Stamp at all, with the Stamp, you are not only paying for the actual chip, but the flashy manual, and the 'easy-to-use' software.

    You could get something much more powerful like a 68HC11, or 68HC12. These chips also cost less, infact you can build an entire MCU board for less than $20. That's compared to the $150 for BS2 + Board + Programming Cable.

    You will learn more, and you can use a /real/ programming language like ASM, C, Forth, etc instead of being stuck with a varient of BASIC.

    That was prolly flamebait, sorry, if you really to email my you know how to rearrange the URL at the top of the message

  • But really, is there a market for a voice controlled MP3 robot stereo?

    Which really gives a new meaning to surround sound (or, at least, circling the room really fast sound *g* :-)

    David Jackson

  • I propose the interim fix of porting teardrop to the Palm and Psion series to be sent via IR and kept in a holster at all times. Of course, we'll have to have a trigger lock! Just dont let the NYPD see you holding one at arms length ("It's a PALM! a PALM!" "He's got napalm! FIRE!!") I wonder if my license to carry covers this? *grin*
  • Looks like flamebait to me.. and I should know..

    What I meant to say (before the snotty part of my brain leapt onto the keyboard) is this..

    This is very cool. Once I turned off that midi song and finished reading the page, I was glad to see that they are producing and selling this kit for cost.

    Yeah yeah.. there are those of you that will ask why they aren't using an ARM processor and whatnot, but as a kit for beginners this is pretty cool... Someone new to robotics could develop a very good understanding of robotics and use this as a basis to understand their knowledge..

    Honest. Thats what I meant to say.

  • oh jeez... I get tired of trolls as much as the next guy, but that was damn good. If you were bitching about some post that had cut and pasted gibberish ad infinitum I would understand, but you're just being pissy. I think it was probably the most creative, well crafted troll I have seen ever. Twas a fable for our times...
  • Hehe nice analogy. Exactly. It's pretty funny to watch the often knee-jerk reaction around here to any new piece of hardware, which is basically, "What will it take to run Linux?" All around the world, there are efforts underway to port chairs, phone poles, alligators, keyboards, toasters, etc. to Linux. ;)

    BTW the robot has a BASIC microcontroller so programming wouldn't be a total bitch. It's certainly a step up from the old Z80 chips we used to write assembly code for to control our robots. Nevertheless, not portable to Linux.

  • Technically, those aren't robots. They're radio controlled cars with attitude.
  • Mm, actually, BASIC Stamp II's run up to around $60. We've got one running six Sharp GP2D05 collision sensors on our robot, Fluffy. (UT Austin IEEE Robot Team)
    Of course, the main processor is a Technological Arts board with a Motorola 68HC12A4 on it.
  • So that your robot will be doing core dumps right on your floor?!

  • Some people have been wondering why TRCY chose to use the Basic Stamps as the "brain". I admit that it's not the choice I would have made, but since it seems people have had good experiences with Stamps, that can slide.

    To me, the real question is: why buy a robotics kit that gives you this kind of robot body? If you want to add anything other than new sensors, it's going to start getting unwieldy. IMHO, the better thing to do would be to package a preferred control board with some Lego pieces. It's easy enough to build a TRaCY-style body using Lego, and you have the option of rapidly reconfiguring the chassis to suit your needs. Lego also offers a lot more expandability.

    Yes, it'd cost more. OTOH, if you're shelling out $90 for a kit, why not wait a bit longer, pay $120 or so, and get something a heck of a lot more powerful?
  • Whoa, imagine a Beowulf wait, thats not what I wanted to say!

    But seriously folks, wander on over to LynxMotion [] for some nifty robotics. I got their first Hexapod 2 walker kits a couple of years ago.

    The usual disclaimer about not being part of the company, blah blah


  • So having clicked on your .sig, do you think the average Windows user is going to think:

    a) Hmm - evidently Windows security is a bit lax - I'd better change my Operating System to Linux, or

    b) That fucking Linux zealot just crashed my computer, the bastard. What is it with these guys?
  • But really, is there a market for a voice controlled MP3 robot stereo? And the most important thing - will it run Linux (which is by the way, not Red Hat)?
  • Too bad the moderators have no sense of humor.

  • check out RobotStore [], you can even have the catalog mail to your home free, they have a lot of things, very interesting!
    BeDevId 15453 - Download BeOS R5 Lite [] free!
  • It's a double edged sword but either way, Linux will be on top! Woohoo!

  • I'd like to append a law to Asimov's list:

    Opensource all code that runs robots.

    Yes, this way they won't spend millions of dollars in their own Genome Project when they aquire consciousness.


  • The fact that you complained about the nth post biotches... and you are one yourself... wow, at this point in my day, that's the damn funniest thing I've ever seen.
  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @07:59PM (#1105499)
    mount a little LCD display on the front, a little chip to control it. A microcontroller attatched to a tiny wireless reciever.. Map out the company floorpan for him. Send a message to Bill in accounting that 'suits' are the root of all evil. See how upset the suit is when he has no idea who sent that little bugger with the LCD in.

    See Bill run. Funny, funny Bill. See techies laugh. Silly, silly techies.

    If God Droppd Acid, Would he see People???
  • And to think that you created all of that off the top of your head *and* posted it within 9 minutes. Amazing!

    Haven't actually read it all yet, I can't keep my eyes focused for that long. Does any of it have anything to do with the story?

  • Now I can get an Aibo and have it battle a TRaCY and a Lego Mindstorms robot. I think it's great that something so cool is being released for so cheap.
  • ...though that may just be my ignorance about what the parts cost.
    $89 also seems like a marketroid price point rather than the actual cost. If they were selling this thing at their actual cost, I'd be more inclined to accept $86.42 than $89.
  • by phwiffo ( 139975 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @08:04PM (#1105503) Homepage

    I'd like to append a law to Asimov's list:

    Opensource all code that runs robots.

    The robots are going around killing everybody! Just wait a few days and there'll be a patch on windowsupdate. *ahem*

  • Wouldn't the code that runs this thing be almost a BIOS-level type thing, making a port to Linux, or any other OS, kinda like trying to implement LBA sector translation in Office 97 or Corel Draw?

    Nice pictures, add a front end and a solar cell and slotless slot car here we come.

  • I want my own Terminator! Wouldn't it be cool - hey, big dude, leg up, Leg Up I say. Ok, now put it down!
  • by levl289 ( 72277 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @08:11PM (#1105506) Homepage
    Because if you've not got the sense to exclude cheesy Van Halen midi songs on your page, you have NO no business even being next to a power source.

    [end karma killing humor]

    Q: What do you think about American Culture?
    A: I think it's a good idea.

  • No, at first glance it would seem that until you can design circuits, you're stuck building someone else's designs, but this is not the case, and kits like this one figure into why:

    Most good kits have information on how and why the circuit works, and break it down into its various simpler subsystems. This allows you to understand what is happening on a basic level, and gives you an idea as to the various methods and approaches to problems. There is also often "alternative things to try" info, which shows how to derive different behaviour from a circuit by changing different component values. Thus you get a hands-on feel for what is going on. After you've built or looked at a few kits, and have even a basic grasp of what components do, you can follow the circuits a bit closer, and get a lot more out of the "how it works" info. Then you can experiment with your own changes, and start making your own circuits by finding one that does roughly what you want and then altering it slightly to fit the bill. Now you really start learning. As you get better at altering circuits, you can achieve your goals from circuits less and less suited to your task. Futhermore, as you are familiar with the subsystems that make up a robot (eg motor drivers, sensor circuits etc), you can design your own robot by building it out of the various subsystems that will do the stuff you want (or close enough that you can modify them).
    By now, you're building a sort of "clip-art" library in your head of circuit sub-subsysytems - useful component configurations that crop up everywhere. Then you start cut&pasting these configurations to make major differences in circuit functionality. And soon you can actually design your own circuits (to a limited degree - but becoming less and less limited), but by now you've been designing original robots for a fair time.
    Qualities like optimisation, elegance, efficiency, simplicity, etc are harder to learn by osmosis and are probably easier to aquire via a solid education.

    The point is that you don't have to be able to design circuits before you can design robots - there is a gradual progression of being able to modify circuits to your own unique ends, and additionally of being able make new complex circuits by combining existing subsystems, thus you can create new and original designs long before you have full mastery of the field.

    The length of the process would depend on how much time you spend on the hobby. I've spent very little time on it, so it's taken over a year to get to the point where I can design new circuits but much prefer to find a really well-designed and efficient circuit optimised-to-hell-and-back, and modify that (even if of significantly different purpose), thus benefiting from the brilliance of someone who knows a lot more than me :-)
  • by SONET ( 20808 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @09:22PM (#1105508) Homepage
    I've used the Basic Stamp for several projects in the past (and present!), and I have found the 'P-BASIC' language fun to use. The projects I've used the Basic Stamp for have ranged from controllers for complex electric doors (that require several motions with different motors in succession, where the stamp registers each motion as complete and starts the next motion) to complex remote operations piggybacked on top of X10 involving sensors, servos, etc etc.

    The film industry has used them for some time now for set design and filming equipment - to a greater extent than most people realize. They're cheap, almost infinately flexible, and don't have too rough of a learning curve.

    Those of you that are dismissing them as worthless toys ought to have a closer look at them to see what they have been used to create. If you use your imagination you can come up with tons of great things to do with these things. I hate to do that anymore though (imagine), as I've come up with enough such projects to fill three lifetimes!

    I hesitate to say this here in fear of killing my karma, but I'd say the usefullness of them surpasses their LEGO counterparts by a significant margin. If you're into such projects, have a look at them, you won't be disapointed. :)

    --SONET (who is not associated with the company(ies) related to this story by any means)

    "Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them." -Ann Landers
  • Hey now.. my reply to my reply to my comment.. Will someone please mod this down?..

    "Someone new to robotics could develop a very good understanding of robotics and use this as a basis to understand their knowledge.."

    This has got to be the coolest thing I have ever typed.. My weekly drunken post is one day early. Go out there and understand your knowledge!

  • by invictus ( 83837 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @09:30PM (#1105510) Homepage Journal
    Where I go to school, we use the Parallax Basic X stamp chips in our Computer Control class. The interface is a really bastardized version of Microsoft Basic that you write in a really basic IDE (no pun intended). These things are really neat (in what you can do with them). We have used them in animatronics projects, some people chose these over our mit handy boards to drive their robots at Trinity Firefighting Robotics Competition (GREAT Robotics competition. (Some of the sights there include a walking robots (kinda like a duck.), other amazing homebrew robots, and teams from all over the world (Esp. Gov't sponsored teams from Israel). Although personally I prefer the mit handyboard (because I can use interactive c under linux to program it), the stamp chip has its advantages in size, weight, cost, lack of learning curve... but this is balanced by some minor speed, functionality, and complexity issues. Altogether the Parrallax BasicX chips are fun toys ;)

    #!/usr/bin/perl -sp0777iX+d*lMLa^*lN%0]dsXx++lMlN/dsM0j]dsj
    $/=unpack('H*',$_);$_=`echo 16dio\U$k"SK$/SM$n\EsN0p[lN*1
  • by Duxup ( 72775 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @09:32PM (#1105511) Homepage
    Won't releasing the code for the robots make it easier for Supervillons to create their army of killer robots out of some code origionally designed to dust my house and feed my cat?
  • No.....

    The correct spelling is "Fist Prost"

    But it's all Crappy Of Choices anyway.

    Why am I posting on /. instead of doing my problem set?
  • You are gravely mistaken. Slashdot is not sided with Linux. Slashdot is sided with Microsoft. Hear me out. Right now, stock for Microsoft is dropping at an amazing rate. The DOJ has taken about 40 billion dollars from Gates in terms of stock, from $90b to $59b. Microsoft is in danger of being split and diced by the DOJ in the courts, and their financial situation is reflecting it.

    Now, where does Microsoft go when it needs stock help? To their competitiors with lawyers and NDAs. But all of their competitors are going open source, so Microsoft can't sue them. What now? Microsoft decides to give up and ally with them. Microsoft is actually conspiring with major Linux corporations to drop their stock price faster than Microsoft is getting theirs dropped, to neutralize Microsoft's drop, in a hope of recovering Bill's 40 billion. Remember, a billion dollars in the Linux community goes a long way.

    Microsoft has not taken over everything. I have already informed CmdrTaco and JonKatz about this, and they have agreeded never to mention the drop of the stock prices of Linux corp.s compared to MSFT. Now, how is that siding with Microsoft? The plot thickens:

    Bill Gates and others who organized this drop were actually trying to destroy the entire OS market. They were depending on the DOJ to spin Bill off to a new MS-Games Co. At this MS-Games Co., Bill would eventually create an operating system working inside a game environment, built into the game. You would be unable to purchase the game without getting the OS, but MS-Games Co. would buy out Sierra, ID, etc.. and gain a near monopoly over the game market. They would be the lone corporate produced Operating System. The problem is that they never factored in that the DOJ would nail them for integrating software into other software. Now, they're trying to pull back, to stop the plans that Bill has set into place. And only Slashdot can save them...
  • You can't port the source of a robot to linux. The source serves one main purpose -- robot control. You typically create the source using an operating system (in any text editor), compile it for the target processor (be it Parallax, or others such as PIC microconntroler, Motorola 68hc11, etc) and upload/execute it. The code controls the servo motors and other electronics (sensors, actuators, etc). Porting to linux means you require a board with enough computer hardware to actually RUN linux. Now, this could be done but a small robot like that with an operating system as robust as linux is just overkill. Not to mention the hardware would be expensive. If you want to learn more about robotics, check out 5-340-syllabi.html This page contains a course I have taken and we built a robot that is to play 'soccer' recieving commands from a central computer. Now, 89 bucks is cheap (our robots are probably worth 500-700 bux CAN) but with the right knowledge you could probably bring that down quite a bit.
  • The basic used is a bit funny-looking for basic, a lot of fairly low-level input/output stuff. And it works well.

    For example, the robots for the FIRST Robotics Competition (, which are about 4x4x4 ft, and weight 130 pounds, use(d?) these for their control systems. Four or five motors, limit switches, pneumatics, potentiometers, it worked with all of them, and worked just fine. The language is easy to pick up, and it's fast enough. Why spend more?

  • How is this different from Mindstorms []? It sounds pretty similar, except that the software for MindStorms has been ported to other platforms (like Not Quite C []).


    Cthulhu for President! []
  • There are a couple of contents for "real" robots - in fact there will be one at the Technical University of Denmark next week: g/ []
    (I don't think their picture gallery works, but try looking at the danish version and search for "billede")

    Does anyone have links to similar contests?

  • The BASIC Stamp (II) is "open"; it just needs a programmer to port it. It sends and receives data over a serial port in the form of an ASCII text file, sent using the RS-232 protocol. I believe the compiler does compress whitespace, and I know it checks for errors before sending programs to the chip. So writing a compiler might be a b*tch, but if you've got a program that you know will compile, you can upload it with a Linux box and a perl script.
    But hey, kids... don't use the Stamp with an ungrounded laptop. RS-232 *requires* a common ground voltage, or you could cook some components or just crash the Stamp.

  • Actually, the stamp uses a simple prom type memory and it has simple binary op codes. Making a port to linux would be truly trivial. It understands a simple serial command language, so if you have any sort of rs232 port you can program this puppy by just dumping the appropriate binary bytes. I babble
  • Well, the point is that this is a "Mid-Level" entry kit. True Robotics Knowldege is, in fact, quite difficult to attain. But the hardest part is getting over that first hump in the learning curve. And this kit is going to help a lot of people get over that hump. Once you've made something simple, then you can decide to go on, or to not go on in the hobby/career.

    If you allready can solder and program in C and read circuit diagrams, then by all means, get a Motorola chip and start hacking. This kit is NOT for you! But if you are semi-clueless about robotics, then this is probably a good kit.

    BTW: My robotics credintials are at My Home Page []

  • Does anyone else find it a little disconcerting when a site starts out with "Welcome Slashdot Readers" and then tries to sell something? Personally, I do consider this story news, but I don't much care for the idea of sites viewing Slashdot news stories as an advertisement portal.
  • c) Perhaps I should get the update that fixes this problem from Windows Update.

    If you're using WinBlows, better make Windows Update your homepage.

  • Really, this seems pretty cheap. I always wanted a Stamp to mess around with, but the cost of them drove me away. Places like sell the basic Stamp kit for $109, which has the chip, carrier board, software, etc. And that price seems to be the cheapest I've seen. I would get this just for the Stamp stuff. The other parts would come in handy, though.

    How do they sell these so cheap?

  • If you don't want to put it together, and you want to easily add rf TX/RX circuit to it, use a handyboard.

    check this site out:


    We used a handyboard circuit, with some pre-bought (ming) rf tx/rx boards. They basically plug into the analog ports of the handyboard and you write code (easy) to monitor the port.

    Then your robot does whatever you want to..

    if you get a handyboard there is a nice manual that shows you what is available for servo motors, analog and digital inputs, and other neat devices.

    Basically, aside from the size of the handyboard, and it's cost, it could be extremely flexible.

    Now.. if only i had the time to make my old SNES controllers a battery powered TX i'd have a real cool toy =)

  • Wow, you just gave me a great idea. Robotic cock fighiting would be cool. Forget about those sissy MIT contests where a robot trie to complete an obstacle course. I can see it the back of a seedy Mexican store...the animatronic horror as a special Killer Rooster Bot from Argentina lays into the robotic Little Yerry Seinfeld...brake fluid spewing everywhere...servos flailing dented rolled aluminum limbs...the smell of freshly drawn lubricant dripping over alloy frames...the sound of torn rubber fittings gnashing in gears... And, best of all, I'd have an excuse to grease up my big shiny cock. :-o

    Am I the only one who saw that episode of Seinfeld about the cockfighting? Just think of it: PETA should give us a medal for this idea. :-)
  • This is absolutely tasteless, inaccurate, and downright mean.

    It's also so damn funny I just don't have the heart to mod it down. It still should be, as Offtopic, but dammit, I can't do it. Someone else, please?
  • ... and I was curious as to whether or not it would appear on slash. Evidently, it has now been posted :)

    Seems appropriate, Bill Gates stubs his toe and slash posts the story. VA Linux falls in value by a factor of 10 and it is ignored. Andover purchas price drops by 1/3... also ignored.

    Now their posting an anti-redhat story (, guess they really are picking sides.
  • by Pope Slackman ( 13727 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @09:34PM (#1105528) Homepage Journal
    >Why use a cheezy microcontroller that you program in BASIC?


    The Cirrus ARM SoC has 208 pins. It's in a TQFP (smallish surface-mount) package.
    Have you ever tried to design and print a board
    (Let alone hand-assemble) for a processor of that complexity on a hobbist budget?

    On the other hand the PIC-based Stamp is a very
    simple 28(4?) pin DIP, requires no external
    memory, no PROM burner (just a serial link), and is very prevalent in the hobbist community.

    I think the PIC is a good choice for a low-cost,
    easy to build, easy to program robotics project.
    Granted, the ARM SoC looks /damn/ cool, but most
    hobbists can't afford the tools to design with something that complex.

    Anyways, does a little 'Turtle' style 'bot really
    need to have a system that powerful, let alone need to run Linux?

    SoC datasheet:


  • ...I even said it should be modded down. I just said I didn't have the heart to do it. The post is funny, after all. This is neither the proper time nor place for it, but I couldn't help but laugh, and I'm willing to bet that even you laughed once or twice (assuming you actually read it all). It's certainly better than that loser who writes long porn stories and posts them here.
  • "How is this different from Mindstorms?"

    It's cheaper and more flexable. You supply your own motors and other bits instead of using the overpriced Lego motors and bits. I guess you could rig your own stuff to the Mindstorms control unit (I don't own one), but then why would you bother using Mindstorms in the first place?

    The reason to use the Mindstroms system is that it's easier to use, even though the Basic Stamp uses a Basic-ish language. It uses Lego blocks for construction, which is a bit limiting.

    With a roll-your-own setup, you can do fun things like welding frames,drilling holes, and using nice metal parts instead of plastic to build a framework/holder for your machine. Also, a Stamp
    can be used for simple non-robotic things, I think the costlier models have more I/O lines than a Mindstrom system. The BS2-IC has 16 I/O and costs $49.00 from Yeah, this is the second time I mentioned them in a post, but I happen to read their catalog quite often.

  • Forget the Basic Stamp processor.
    Take a look at
    Oopic blows BS away.
  • Pool-playing robot? cool!

    But they left out one of the most amusing uses: program TRaCY to approach moving objects and it becomes an $89 cat-chaser.. my check is in the mail :)

    David H.
  • oops..

    go to MECHATRONICS course page..

  • This is true, I am working on a satellite project and we are using the Basic Stamp II as our computer. The port would realy have nothing to do with the Basic code as it is all interpreted on the chip. The program that loads the code into the chip actually runs in dos, and should be a truly trivial port.
  • There is no compiler. Basic is an interpreted language. You just write the code and it is loaded onto the chip where it is interpreted, adding a transmitter/reciever is easy. The Basic stamp II has a built in DTMF out function and a Frequency output function. Lots of built in goodies. --------------------------------------- "One bug is a tragedy A million bugs is a statistic" (if stalin worked for microsoft)
  • Hmmm... they could have a script that does it. I mean, if you are going from /., you give a referred-id that they could use. try not referring, i guess. anyhow, /. IS a great way to pick up hits. god knows that i've tried! i'm forever telling people about my joke-of-the-day site at here []. shameless plug - do check it out! they're good
  • by Asparfame ( 96993 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @08:29PM (#1105537)
    on the BASIC 2 STAMP.

    The Basic 2 Stamp is just a PIC microcontroller with a nice serial interface and a Basic interpreter slapped on. Cost (for 1) about $100 or so (obviously this company gets it cheap in bulk).

    Cost of just the PIC without the less useful attachments about $8.

  • Why use a cheezy microcontroller that you program in BASIC?

    ARM7's are cheap. Specifically the Cirrus Logic ARM "system on a chip" series of embedded processors. Sound support, runs linux, up to 70MHz or so. Super cheap (around $20 in large quantities). And they probably use less power than these basic stamp module uprocs.

  • As seniors at college we had to complete a group "Design Project" as a graduation requirement. We decided to try and make an device that would activly tune a guitar using small motors. I wanted to spec out a "fashionable" processor, such as something based on the 68000, and the thought of using an $80 Basic stamp purchased out of a jameco catalog irked me. But the darn thing did the job. I know, what's the point. I just felt like posting something for once.
  • I'd love to play with one of these things but, I really dont want to put it together. I'd much rather just write the code to make it do stuff.. It would also be nice to see a linux compiler for it.

    Anyone know how tough it would be to add an RF transmiter/reciever to it?

    ------ []
  • Oh Yeah..
    Dig That Music!
    I've set that page [] as my home page. I just groove on that midi music.. I listen to it all day long as I work.

    I next plan to record a loop of that midi to tape, throw it in a walkman with an FM transmitter, and hide cheap FM tuners around town..

    THEN, As I walk around town I will hear that midi song eminating from heat vents, gutters, etc. and can share the joy with my fellow humans..

    *Rock On!*

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.