Let's Make Robots!

Thomas Countz's blog

Robotics Engineering WPI Class of 2014

Hello fellow LMR'ers,

I just wanted to create a blog post because I haven't been active on the site in a long time, but that's for good reason.  

I've been really focused on my school studies, and being a senior in high school, I also need to focus on college applications, financial aid, ect... 

Speaking of College, just today I received an admissions letter from Worcester Polytechnic Institute stating that I have been admitted to become a part of the WPI class of 2014!!!!! 

Sensor-Based Human Activity Recognition

I have a very ambitious idea for a robot project. After doing some reseach, I found a word that perfectly defines what I've been trying to describe for a while: Human Behavior Recognition, or more specifically, Sensor-Based Human Activity Recognition (SBHAR, for sake of brevity.)

08.04.09 0044: BARE PICs

I've been spending the better part of the last few months studying to become more familiar with bare PICs. I'm not too sure what it is exactly that attracts me to using bare PICs in lieu of using an "Arduino" or "PICAXE", but I've made the decision to utilize bootloaded microcontrollers solely when prototyping.

PIC and PICkit Problems

I just began to tackle bare PICs again with the 12F509. Simple baseline stuff. Just for good measure as to whether or not I remembered what the hell I was doing, I tackled the task of turning on a LED. :p I used the following user code:



Well after complaining about the difficulty of programming PICs "http://letsmakerobots.com/node/9162" I remembered bootloaders. Originally I thought that boatloaders were just for Arduino's and PICAXE's, but after some investigating, I realized that they're a completely valid alternative to programming hardware! 

LMR Search

Is the search thingy here not working, or is it just me? Seriously, I don't know if it's because I use Chrome, or if it's just not working. I tried to search to see if anything was said about this, but well...you know...I can't. 

Mini Robot Master

I wanted to create this blog about an Instructable memeber I've read about a while back.

SG90 servos

After some seaching for an answer about the strength, durablity, quality, ect, of SG90 servos, I found this video.

Their other videos show more of the development process (a bit) but this video lets me see that the SG90 servos can hold their own.

Though they may not be ideal, I'm willing to sacrifice some quality for the great savings as long as they work like this.

edit: Then I found the second video.... 

Time to move on?

The Arduino Duemilanove was my first microcontroller that I purchased, and has been my main micro on all of my projects, robotic or otherwise. At one point, I felt that it was time to move on from the Arduino, and search for a more practical solution, so I purchased a PicKit v2 and some PICs.


I just picked up Three books from my library: "Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots", " The PIC Microcontroller: Your Personal Introductory Course", and "The Robot Builder's Bonanza" from TAB Electronics.

My Robotics

Like many others, who end up in the robotics field, I've always been a "tinker-er" when I was younger. Taking things apart to see how they work, buying electronics lab kits and completing all the circuits without opening the book, you know, typical stuff. Well now that I'm older, it's become a passion and a career choice. Don't mistake my age however, I'm only in high school, but I do plan on pursuing a higher level education in the field of engineering.