OF THE MONTH
Products include microcontrollers
and board only (no electronics) PCI
Based in Canada, both HVW and
Solarbotics ship worldwide.
Solarbotics.net is the sister website
to Solarbotics.com, a commercial seller
of robot kits. The “.net” site is an informational wiki about all things BEAM. For the
unitiated, BEAM stands for Biology,
Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics —
an approach to robotics that emphasizes
simplicity in design. Those designs often
incorporate biologic-like processes, and
encourage re-use of materials, including
energy. (Many BEAM robots are solar
powered, hence the name of the site.)
Solarbotics.net is a wide-reaching
resource, with articles, videos, links,
datasheets, example circuits, and a
gallery of BEAM-inspired robots that
you can learn from — and even replicate,
if you choose to. Though wiki in nature
and while the site encourages
submissions from readers, articles
must be vetted by the site administrator
before posting. This keeps the articles
on topic, with little to no spam.
Gleason Research sells the MIT
Handy Board and Handy Cricket
single-board computers. The Handy
Board (see below) is a favorite at
MIT, and many university and college
General parts supplier; among
their large inventory are various
both one-time programmable and
The Handy Board
The Handy Board uses a Motorola
68HC11 microcontroller to build a
sophisticated robotics central brain.
The Handy Board is used in many
college and university robotics courses
(it was originally developed at MIT),
and is suitable for education, hobby,
and industrial purposes.
Kanda Systems Ltd.
Programmers for microcontrollers
and subsystems, including the 8051,
Atmel AVR, CAN, Internet/Ethernet,
Scenix, ST7, and Xicor.
Offers several microcontrollers,
including the open source Arduino
(and Lilypad, which is a wearable
HVW Tech / Solarbotics
Resellers of PICAXE, Arduino,
Parallax, and other microcontrollers.
Kronos has developed a line of
microcontrollers in various lines where
speed and low cost are key features.
The chips support code libraries of
functions which allow you to readily
program the chip without having to
re-invent the wheel.
Mouser is a full-line supplier of electronics, including microcontrollers.
They also offer a printed catalog.
Sells a unique microcontroller —
the proSEED — using the FORTH
Controller boards and
development tools for
microEngineering Labs makes
and sells development tools for
the Microchip PIC microcontrollers,
the PICBASIC Compiler, and other
Microchip makes a broad line
of semiconductors, including the
venerable PICs. Their website
contains many datasheets and
application notes on using these
controllers; you should be sure to
download and save them for study.
74 SERVO 11.2009