Getting started with open source robotic technologies



Robotic technologies deal with the design and construction of robots and computer systems that aid in their control and information processing to provide the necessary motion. Height adjustable standing desk is one of the items that can be categorised as an example of robotic technologies because an individual can adjust the height of the desk to meet their requirements. Several open source robotic projects have been put in place such as hardware, software projects and robotic simulators. The technology also incorporates the use of actuators and desk lifts.

Open source robotics aids in changing the manner in which the world interacts with individuals. The world of robotic technology is, therefore, making great advancements that have led to the development of unimaginable items such as self-driven cars, drones and other technologies made to clean the houses. The open source projects make it possible for anyone to enjoy the technology of robots without having to be an electrical engineer because their use is fun.

In regard to hardware projects, a robot is mainly physical. Thus, its hardware and code require licensing. However, different open hardware platforms can enable individuals to start their projects such as Sparki. The platform is designed to be affordable as an introductory to robots for students in the elementary to adult age. It comes along with an accelerometer, compass, line-follower, light sensor, infrared communications and a distance sensor. Also, the machine has wheels. There are also some platforms that offer flying robots and among them is AdruPilot Copter. Likewise, the TurtleBot is available as a kit and a set of instructions that make it possible for an individual to build their own pieces.

In software projects, it is evident that robots require commands for the master or even generating its own in order to be able to function. Among the open source software projects of robots is LeJOS which makes it easy for the user to program their robot using Java language. Similarly, Rock is another software project designed with several drivers of already existing projects. ROS is also available in the market as an operating system that lets developers write robot-related software.

Apart from giving a platform as a backbone, it is important to simulate the functionality of robots because they might look awesome on paper, but there is not a guarantee that they will look good in reality too. Therefore, it is not advisable to start collecting hardware without a specific plan of action. A good example is Gazebo which is designed to complete the simulation process. It has different robot platforms that aid the user to start the process. MORSE is another platform designed for simulation of outdoor and indoor academic robots. Further, the V-REP is available as an experimentation platform that can be supported on Mac, Windows and Linux.


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