1As line system. With time, users may find
Science that they are ready to take advantage
detailed of the greater control and flexibility
step pro afforded by locally installed program-
C coder2an additional r
s. Several activi0 esource, Machi
ed a series
uctions for novi
ties are include1ne
d, ming so0ftware. All of the compilers
ranging from simple breadboard-based integrated with the on-line system are
projects to more advanced robotics available at no cost, either as open-pplications. Companion activity kits — source software or as demo versions.
including off-the-shelf hardware, such While the system is designed for
as breadboards, microcontrollers, input ease of use, it is also very powerful.
and output devices, and robot-building Freed from the constraints of inter-components — are also available. preted programming languages,
The on-line programming system Machine Science users have built an
was originally developed for Microchip’s array of embedded controller projects.
PIC16F877, but Machine Science is These include a computer-controlled
steadily extending the system to work Etch-a-Sketch, mating stepper motors to
with additional microcontroller plat- the toy controls to create line drawings
forms. Atmel’s Atmega8 and Atmega32 of famous figures, as well as a full-scale,
chips are supported, as is the FIRST Segway-style portable transportation
Robotics Competition controller. Users device (Figure 2), which was created by
can simply choose which hardware undergraduates at the Massachusetts
platform they are using from within Institute of Technology and students
the on-line interface and instantly start from Boston-area high schools.
compiling for any supported chip. To test drive the on-line C program-
In order to streamline the user expe- ming system, sign up for a free user
rience, certain parameters — such as chip account on the Machine Science web-processing speed — are pre-set in the on- site. With the barriers to getting started
removed, there’s no reason not to make
the move to C today. First-time microcontroller programmers may even want
to consider starting with C, rather than
devoting time and effort to learning
another programming language, only to
have to make the switch later. SV
Machine Science, Inc.:
DIY Segway: web.mit.edu/first/Segway
Jameco offers more major brands of
semiconductors than anyone — almost
twice as many as these catalog distributors.*
It’s another Jameco advantage.
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2007. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
SERVO 01.2008 55