Let's Make Robots!

Another new forum: FEZ Domino

So, you think you can handle the FEZ Domino? Oh what a beautiful world: Now you have your own forum to talk about it.

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We now have 2 new (new to the FEZ) users with the same basic robot hardware. That should make things easier.

Stepping over to the dark side... :-)

(I hope to hack the heck out of my bot with more sensors, maybe a small arm and or video hardware.)

I must admit I want to check one out. I have no clue what .NET is except that my computer complained about it one time.

Still, more power and I/O pins is like candy to me.

Personally I think that more of the LMR users should consider testing out a .NET micro framework based board, FEZ, Netduino or any other out there. The FEZ panda is on sale for $19.95, this is a board with the same formfactor as Arduino but with things like;

  • 60 programmable IO pins
  • 4 UART
  • I2C
  • 2 x CAN
  • 2 x SPI
  • Flash 148Kb
  • RAM 62Kb

http://www.tinyclr.com/compare/

But the best thing off it all is the on-chip debugging. I mean, how great is it to be able to halt the program running on the chip, examine variables and then let it run on full speed again.
I know, I sound like, -and probably am a fanboy. But for my project that needs a bit more than a PICAXE, I’ll go for the .NET every time.

Wow, that sounds like a debugging feature from heaven!

But you'd (I'd) have to learn C to use this, right? (I could look up manuals, I know, just a tiny quick question ;)

Currently you can only work in Visual Studio Express C# (it’s free) so the syntax is C#. So yes the syntax is C style, but full object oriented managed code so no more scary pointers.

There are work being done by people to work in Visual Studio VB, but that’s probably somewhere in the future.

As this is running on a .NET micro framework, most of the C# tutorials and help pages out there apply.

It might seem like a daunting task to endeavor but it’s a bit like your first Arduino LED blinker. When one starts up everything feels strange and scary.  But if you start small, make something work, build on that, google some, write some more code and everything gets clearer.

As this is managed code you will never run in to problems like overwriting memory if your buffer grows. The garbage collector frees up any memory that goes out of scope and is not used anymore.
And you have threading. So your program can run on many thread, for example you can have your Ping sensor running in one thread and report back if it sees something. Another thread can listen to the XBee and handle any incoming commands.

And at last we have a microcontroller with real string support, with methods like; IndexOf, ToLower, Substring

Yes the debugger is fantastic. The ability to halt the program by setting breakpoint and examine variables and even scroll down a list from an array is amazing.

There is also a great e-book on C# an FEZ

http://www.tinyclr.com/downloads/Beginners%20guide%20to%20NETMF.pdf

I think it is finally time for you to join the dark side of the force. In many ways the C is easier than picaxe basic. I often felt my hands were tied behind my back trying to work around all of picaxes limitations.

I think the seven dwarfs will help you make that transistion :D

I feel the force is strong in young OddBot.
Come join the dark side….