from USBmicro.com because RobotBASIC has commands
for accessing them directly. USBmicro supports many
languages, so if this option interests you, check out their
webpage at www.USBmicro.com.
• Serial I/O: A USB-to-serial adapter can allow the
tablet to communicate with serial I/O boards or even a
small microcontroller that you program to serve as your
I/O device. We explored this option in the book, Hardware
Interfacing with RobotBASIC.
• Bluetooth: The tablet’s built-in Bluetooth can
effectively provide a serial link to external devices without
requiring a USB port, but you should keep in mind that
Bluetooth switching delays between transmit and receive
modes can be a bandwidth bottleneck for many situations.
• RROS Chip: Our own RROS (RobotBASIC Robot
Operating System) offers an ideal solution as discussed in
the September 2012 issue of SERVO. It provides both the
physical interface and the internal firmware
necessary to control the motors and read the sensors
of a remote robot. It may be connected through a
direct USB serial cable or over a Bluetooth link
(bandwidth is not an issue in this case because CPU
intensive operations — such as motor control — are
carried out completely in the background by the
RROS chip). Visit www.Robot
BASIC.org for more information on the RROS chip.
The interfacing method you choose can depend on
which tablet you have and the nature of your application.
Future articles in this series will provide example programs
that utilize the tablet’s orientation sensors, as well as its
camera and a USB GPS. Seeing examples of how the
sensors can be used will help you determine what tablet
and interfacing methods might be right for you.
Next time, we will examine two applications to
demonstrate how easily a tablet’s sensor data can be used
to control a robot. If you just can’t wait till next month and
would like to start experimenting on your own, you can
obtain a copy of the Sensor Interface Utility program by
requesting it with an email to RobotBASIC@yahoo.com.
Please use Sensor Interface Program as the subject of the
email to speed the response. SV
62 SERVO 12.2013
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