Why Did The Robot Cross The Road?
systems different. Since a major
difference here is the protocol, the
simple availability of the CANipede
RCM is a fantastic teaching
moment on that core concept. The
simplicity of implementing the
Cross-Link control system is also a
great way to achieve a major goal
of a robotics team in transition:
instilling confidence in the new
One of our biggest challenges
when recruiting new team
members was to convince those
with no experience that they too
could build a robot. Getting
acquainted with the components of
the Cross-Link system and removing
the additional intimidator of
programming is a great way to
demonstrate that robots are not an
inscrutable collection of wires and circuit boards, but rather
a logical structure of electronics. The depth of the system
also allows veterans to sharpen their programming skills or
add a variety of mechanisms with the assurance that they’ll
be able to control them with the tap of a button or
manipulation of a slider.
Intrepid programmers have a lot to look forward to
with the Cross Link RCS, because the entire project is open
source. The code is all available online, and can easily be
modified with an IDE like MPLAB. The inputs and outputs
of the CANipede can be retooled, and the RCS interface
can be modified. The 2CAN is the only closed source
component of the system, but that shouldn’t be too
Future versions of the 2CAN firmware will even allow
users to add their own custom web pages to supplement or
take the place of the Web Dashboard. The entire Cross-Link
system — which can be obtained through trusted FIRST
distributor AndyMark — costs $399.99, which should be
well within reach even for smaller FIRST teams and other
The folks at Cross the Road Electronics envision a
TINKERING WITH THE CODE.
system that welcomes new family members every year.
With an inner circle that already includes the 2CAN,
CANipede, and friends like the Jaguar, we can only imagine
how new additions would exponentially increase the
possibilities of the Cross-Link control system. SV
Special Thanks to
Mike Copioli from Cross the Road Electronics.
Andy Baker from AndyMark for the purr-fect Jaguars.
Paul Copioli from VEX for the infinitely useful Victors.
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