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Building and Programming Robots: Part 1


The Robot Challenge: Part 1 --

My kids and I decided to learn how to build and program robots this summer.

None of that virtual stuff for the 13 year old. She wants to build a living, breathing robot that moves through real, not cyberspace. And, since dealing with the physical world is an interesting thing for kids to learn to do, I did not object.

Research

I started with the following books:

My initial plan had been to use the LOGO programming language and a physical turtle. The environments I had known about look like this. However, after a little research on the Internet, it seemed clear to me that no longer would we be able to economically buy a "LOGO kit" that supports a physical robot. They all seem to use virtual turtles these days. Or, cost a fortune.

I also considered LEGO Mindstorms. However, it seems like LEGOs has moved away from LOGO as its programming language. Dave Baum's book provides a lot of information about both the LEGO language, RCX, and another, supposedly more versatile programming language, NQC (Not Quite C). Now, I am a fan of the C programming language. However, I don't know that that's the first language I would choose to teach my 5 year old daughter. Sigh.

Anyway, I made some inquiries about getting a real, physical LOGO turtle, and joined a LOGO listserv, but decided that we should start learning how to build robots first.


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