Chapter 16. Autonomous Robots

And now for something completely different . . .

So far you have seen robots controlled directly from your desktop PC. However, it is much more fun to let them roam free. To do this you need to make them autonomous, i.e., give the robots onboard brains.

In writing a book like this it is hard to predict the skills of the audience. Some of you might have worked with MS-DOS in what now seems like a previous life, and others might be young enough to have grown up without having to deal with the horrors of command prompts, Autoexec.bat, Windows for Workgroups, and so on. Unfortunately, in some ways working with onboard computers is taking a step backwards from the comfortable environment of Windows XP or Vista that you have on your desktop PC to the bygone era of DOS.

Some of this chapter, therefore, is about introducing you to what might be new concepts and ways of programming and debugging. The robotics content is not very high, but unless you understand how to work in these environments you will not be able to create autonomous robots.

Regardless of whether you want to build an autonomous robot or not, you might find parts of this chapter useful. For example, it discusses using the .NET Compact Framework (CF) on a personal digital assistant (PDA) to control a robot via Bluetooth.

You should read the entire chapter even if you are using Windows CE because some of the material in the section on PDAs is relevant to Windows CE as well.

PC-Based Robots

It has already ...

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